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TV Interview: The Center for Climate and Security on Climate Change and Syria

On Saturday, July 25, the Center for Climate and Security’s Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia spoke to MSNBC’s Alex Witt about the intersection of climate change, natural resource mismanagement and instability in Syria, as well as the broader national and international security implications of a changing climate. Click on the image below for the full interview.

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Caitlin Werrell & Francesco Femia, Center for Climate and Security

For more on the Center for Climate and Security’s research on the subject, see:

2012: Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest
2013: The Arab Spring and Climate Change
2015: Did We See it Coming? State Fragility, Climate Vulnerability, and the Uprisings in Syria and Egypt

Review: Two New Studies on Syria, Drought, Climate Change, Natural Resource Management and the Uprising

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In February of 2012 (updated in our report The Arab Spring and Climate Change in 2013) we wrote about drought and natural resource mismanagement in Syria in the past decade, the displacement of about 1.5 million Syrian farmers and herders from 2006-2011, and the role climate change may have played. Our conclusion was that a combination of factors, including the Assad regime’s criminal mismanagement of land, water and food resources (and the subsequent displacement of peoples), an extended period of winter drying since 1973 (linked to climate change by a NOAA report in 2011), culminating in a severe five-year drought, contributed to the collapse of farmland and rangeland that led to this humanitarian crisis. We also concluded that more research was needed to further disentangle the lines of causality for this disaster, and how it might have contributed to the Syrian uprising. That research is beginning to trickle in with the publication of two recent peer-reviewed articles.

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Tunisian Constitution Charts A Course To A Climate Resilient Future

Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began, recently adopted a new constitution. And it has become only the third constitution in the world to include a reference to climate change (the other two are Ecuador and the Dominican Republic).

According to Raveena Aulakh of the Toronto Star, the new constitution  obliges the Tunisian state to “contribute to the protection of the climate … for future generations.” It also goes on to assert that the “state shall provide the necessary means to eliminate environmental pollution.” (more…)

Must Listen: RADM Titley Podcast with Acclimatise on Global Climate Security

Rear Admiral Titley USN RetWill Bugler, with the UK-based organization Acclimatise, recently sat down with RADM David Titley (Ret.) to discuss the global security implications of climate change. The podcast is an excellent summary of the key questions and issues surrounding climate and security, as well as a look at where the issue currently stands within the security sector (and the U.S. Navy, in particular).  You can listen to it here, and below is a brief summary: (more…)

Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?

City skyline from a coastal defense breakwater in Alexandria, EgyptIn a new post titled “Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?” the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Schuyler Null and Maria Preble have done an admirable job of reviewing both our report with the Stimson Center and the Center for American Progress, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” and E3G’s “Underpinning the MENA Democratic Transition.” From their summary: (more…)

Toronto Star on the Arab Spring and Climate Change

Cistern,_Qanawat,_NW_SyriaThe Toronto Star devoted an impressive amount of space this past weekend to articles exploring the role of climate change in the Arab world, before and after the trans-formative changes in the region. All three articles cite our recent multi-author volume, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” as well as other perspectives from social scientists. To read the full pieces, click on the links below.

Climate Change and Security in the News: Week (and a Half) in Review

Damascus_PanoramaThe past week and a half saw a lot of mainstream attention paid to the human and national security implications of climate change, and what needs to be done about it. Here’s a quick snapshot: (more…)