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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.
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
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.
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…)
Will 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…)