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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…)

World Economic Forum: The Rise of Regional Institutions and Climate Change

The World Economic Forum’s recent report, “Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk” highlights one of the major developments in global governance – the rise of regional institutions – and calls for a better integration of these regional groupings into our current system of global governance. This is an important objective for a whole host of issues, but is especially critical for addressing the threat of climate change. (more…)

Egypt’s Political Transition and the Rising Sea: An Opportunity for Reform

Last January, on the heels of a successful popular revolution in Tunisia, Egyptians decided that they wanted to govern themselves as well. This led to the eventual overthrow of the 30-year Mubarak regime. Since then, the Egyptian path to democracy has been challenged, with the country’s military elite largely filling the empty spaces of power.

But while this political transition stumbles forward uncertainly, with the forces of reaction threatening to nip progress towards democracy in the bud, another less political threat looms. The health of the Nile Delta. (more…)

Word of the Day: Oropolitics

In exploring the India-Pakistan dispute over the Siachen Glacier (called the “highest battleground on Earth”), we came across the word “oropolitics.” According to Joydeep Sircar, who coined the term in the early 1980s, it refers to the “political aspect and use of mountains and mountaineering.”  This word, a paragon of the English language, merits the creation of a “word of the day” post to accommodate it. (more…)

If Climate Change is a Security Threat, Who’s Qualified to Fight It? Hint: Everyone

A recent piece in AlertNet raises some fair questions about the “securitisation of climate change,” including the dangers of fear-based sensationalist messages and the need for additional research into the links between climate change and violent conflict. It also goes on to make a debatable assertion about the risks of linking climate change to security  – one which assumes that framing climate change as a security issue risks overshadowing important social and environmental concerns. (more…)

War and Peace…and El Niño…and Climate Change

NOAA.A new study by M. Hsiang et al., covering the years 1950 – 2004, shows that conflicts are associated with the El Niño cycle. According to Hsiang and his colleagues, “the probability of new civil conflicts arising throughout the tropics doubles during El Niño years relative to La Niña years.” The authors do not claim that El Niño is the sole factor in determining civil conflict (poverty and governance are other key factors), but this is a significant finding. (more…)

UN Security Council Strengthens the Climate and Security Link (Sort Of)

By Patrick Gruban (originally posted to Flickr as UN Security Council)[CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsOn July 20, 2011, for only the second time, the UN Security Council officially debated the peace and security implications of climate change. In the first such debate in 2007, climate change was added to the agenda by the UK, then Council president. The agenda was, however, thwarted by the Chinese and other nations wary of the potential for UNSC “mission creep.”  Roughly four years and billions of tons of CO2 emissions later, the Germans assumed the Council presidency, and decided to give it another go. The results were indeed better than last time, but not sufficient given the scale of the crisis. (more…)