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Building a New Libya in a New Climate: Water as a Key to Cooperation

This blog also appeared on the humanitarian news site, AlertNet

Libya Hurra. Free Libya. This was one of the main rallying cries for the Libyan opposition last year, which with NATO assistance, toppled the brutal 40-year reign of Muammar Gaddafi. But four and a half months after Gaddafi’s downfall, Libya under the leadership of the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) is facing the problem of reconciling the many different “free Libyas” envisioned by different publics, and addressing allegations of some “not-so-free” practices. The eastern region of Cyrenaica, with its capital at Benghazi (the heart of the anti-Gaddafi movement) has declared itself a semi-autonomous region, prompting major protests in both Benghazi and Tripoli. Despite recent successes by the central government, armed militias still roam the country, and the capacity of the government in Tripoli to keep them in check has been questioned. Indeed, the city of Misrata has been described as a virtual “armed city-state” in opposition to the central government. Furthermore, reports of human rights abuses committed against suspected Gaddafi sympathizers, including black African migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, abound.

But while the Libyan government currently seeks in earnest to address these conflicts, it may be less overtly political issues, such as climate change and water resource management, that hold the key to building unity. (more…)

A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific: The Missing Piece of the New U.S. Security Strategy

This article is cross-posted from e-International Relations

For the first time since the days of William Howard Taft, the United States is officially reorienting its security and defense strategy to the Asia-Pacific region, closing down military bases in Europe, redeploying soldiers to bases in Australia, and placing the region front and center in its strategic documents. As stated in the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance note, “while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity re-balance toward the Asia-Pacific region.” But if this shift is to translate into leadership, the United States needs a complementary investment agenda for building the region’s resilience to key emerging threats – including climate change. (more…)

New Report: The United States, the South China Sea, Natural Resources and Climate Change

After a long transition, and winter break (a strange one, to be sure – the daffodils here in DC started to emerge yesterday, and today it’s snowing…), we’re back.

And what better post-break gift than a new report from the Center for a New American Security? “Cooperation from Strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea” is a good one. You should read the whole thing. But given our focus on climate and security, we’re going to briefly highlight the section on climate change in Will Rogers’ chapter “The Role of Natural Resources in the South China Sea.” (more…)

Thailand Forecast: Floods, Droughts and Political Instability

The devastation caused by Thailand’s recent floods is vast. Two million people across 26 provinces were affected by the event, at least 527 people were killed, and a quarter of the country’s important rice crop may have been decimated. But beyond these headlines, the flood waters present a very harsh lesson in resilience. Climate change, weather, geography and politics all conspired to teach this lesson – but not just to Thailand. It is a warning to a world facing myriad risks in the ecological landscape – risks that are exacerbated by the volatility of political institutions, and the uncertainties that come with them. The challenge, for Thailand and the globe, will be to make the task of managing these risks impervious to the politics of the day, and responsive to the challenges of the future. (more…)

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