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General Ron Keys Talks Climate Change and Security in Iowa

Ron KeysRetired four-star Air Force General Ron Keys, member of CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board (MAB), and our own Advisory Board, is in Iowa this week talking about the risks and opportunities associated with a changing climate. This comes on the heels of a landmark report release from the MAB, titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.”

Yesterday, General Keys spoke with “Iowa policy-makers and agriculture leaders” about climate change impacts on crop production, stating:

“That’s what we mean when we talk about a catalyst for conflict…When people don’t have enough to eat, when people don’t have enough water, when people don’t have a way to make a living, then they start to move or the[y] start to be activists…or the government can’t support them any longer and so you have, perhaps, radicals taking over certain areas of the world.”

Today, General Keys will speak at the opening of Iowa’s largest solar farm in Kalona. In advance of that, General Keys penned an Op-Ed for The Des Moines Register. In it, he talks about the effect climate change and a dependence on oil has on U.S. military infrastructure and operations, and how the military is addressing those issues. He states:

The military has long been looking for ways to reduce demand, diversify supply and advance the use of renewable options both here at home and on the battlefield. In recent wars, transporting and protecting access to fuel supplies has put our troops in greater danger. Historically, our dependence on oil has tied our nation to troubling regimes in parts of the world that are neither the most stable nor the most friendly to American interests.

These are all good reasons to look for solutions now.

There is another challenge, too: As a senior officer with responsibility for military installations around the world, I saw the beginning effects of climate change as long-term droughts and flooding began to threaten bases and training ranges. Extreme weather events were a wake-up call, showing what can happen as storms get stronger and weather patterns change.

Today, the Department of Defense is analyzing plans for at least 30 bases, posts or ports in the face of predicted sea-level rise that may make some unusable — more good reasons to look for solutions now.

Follow us on Twitter @CntrClimSec for more on General Keys’ visit to both Kalona and Camp Dodge (where he’s discussing efficiency with the Iowa National Guard).

David Michel on Iran’s Environment: Greater Threat than Foreign Foes

Urmia_lake_1984_to_2011The security situation in Iran has made a lot of headlines lately, but largely missing from the analysis is the state of food, water and climate within the nation.  David Michel, director of the Environmental Security Program at the Stimson Center, wrote an article for the U.S. Institute of Peace that helps fill this gap.  Michel states: (more…)

Connecting the Drops – An Indus River Basin Roadmap

Indus.A2002274.0610.1kmThe Stimson Center, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDIP) and the Observer Researcher Foundation have just released “Connecting the Drops: An Indus Basin Roadmap for Cross-Border Water Research, Data Sharing, and Policy Coordination.” This is the product of six months of dialogue and collaboration between an Indus Basin Working Group, comprised of twenty-five analysts and practitioners who sought to identify critical knowledge gaps, prioritize research questions, and formulate practical approaches for meeting needs. (more…)

Prepared Remarks on Global Food and Climate Security

Byzantine_agricultureThe following speech was delivered on Dec. 12, 2012 in Washington, DC by Caitlin Werrell, at a global food security and climate change lunch conversation for bishops from the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

I was invited to discuss the human security risks that climate change presents, specifically (but not exclusively) related to food security. I will briefly look at what we mean by climate as a security risk, discuss a couple of case studies and then close on what this might mean going forward for food security and your programs. (more…)

More on Climate Change and the Syrian Uprising

Shahrzad Mohtadi has written an interesting piece for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on the connections between climatic changes, bad policy and social unrest in Syria.

The article follows and expands on a piece we wrote in March for AlertNet and ClimateProgress, titled “Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest,” which was then cited by Thomas Friedman at the New York Times in his OpEd “The Other Arab Spring.” (more…)

Indus Civilization Upended by Climate Change and Dependence on Finite Resource?

As first reported at the New York Times, a recent study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences makes a strong case for the influence of climate change on the demise of the Harrapan civilization of the Indus plains, a sophisticated culture that “rose about 4,500 years ago, flourished for 600 years and then began a steady and relentless decline.” Essentially, the study shows, the civilization was highly dependent on monsoon rains to feed the flooding of rivers in the Indus valley, its essential means for watering crops, and was thus unable to adapt to climatic changes that weakened the monsoons, and failed to flood the rivers (the Harrapans did not utilize irrigation systems, being spoiled by what they believed was an infinite cycle of river flooding). (more…)

Eye on Iran: Lake Urmia, Water, Climate and Security in a Volatile Region

This blog also appeared on the humanitarian news site, AlertNet

The strategic position of Iran, straddling the energy-thruway that is the Strait of Hormuz, bordering, among other nations, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and sitting a mere 1,000 miles northeast of an anxious Israel, is unquestionably important. However, while the recent focus has been on whether or not Iran has the capability and the will to turn its domestic nuclear energy program into a nuclear weapons program, another human and economic disaster looms relatively unnoticed: the drying up of Lake Urmia in the country’s northwest – the largest lake in the Middle East. Given the current volatile political landscape surrounding Iran, this is worth a closer look. (more…)