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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…)

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…)

Pakistan: Don’t Sell the Discourse Short

Terrorism, Taliban, drones, attacks, floods. These are a few of the words frequently seen in news headlines about Pakistan these days. Two words you will rarely see are “climate” and “change.” While statistically significant correlations between climate change and single weather events, like the one that caused the recent flooding in Pakistan, are difficult to come by, it is worth pausing to consider the effects that projected climate shifts in the region, such as a more erratic monsoon season, might have on a state with such a volatile mix of security problems and natural disasters. (more…)

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