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New Article: “The Nexus of Climate Change, State Fragility and Migration”

Reuters/Rodi Said

Reuters/Rodi Said

Imperial College London’s Angle Journal recently published an article by Center for Climate and Security Co-directors Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia titled “The Nexus of Climate Change, State Fragility and Migration.” Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

The greatest migration since World War II is under way. Refugees are flowing in record numbers from Syria to both surrounding countries, and Europe. It is a humanitarian crisis of the highest order.

The proximate cause of this migration – the most immediate reason for it – is the long and brutal conflict in Syria. But a humanitarian crisis of such a historic and horrific scale necessitates the asking (and answering) of broader questions concerning a range of potential underlying contributors and causes. Here we examine the role of climate change with regard to state fragility and migration, and propose three guiding principals for governments to follow when faced with complex and uncertain climate-related threats.

Click here for the full piece.

Photos and Videos: The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change

Ellen Laipson, Sherri Goodman, Samuel Locklear, Eric Schwartz - "Schuyler Null/Wilson Center."

Ellen Laipson, Hon. Sherri Goodman, Admiral (ret) Samuel Locklear III, Eric Schwartz – “Schuyler Null/Wilson Center.”

On November 17, the Center for Climate and Security released its new report, “The U.S. Asia- Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change,” in partnership with the Center for New American Security, the University of Oxford and the Carnegie Mellon University Civil and Environmental Engineering Program.

The release was accompanied by a thought-provoking panel discussion between senior leaders in the national security, defense and diplomatic communities, including Admiral Samuel Locklear III, USN (Ret.), Former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command; Sherri Goodman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security); Eric Schwartz, Dean, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; and Ellen Laipson, Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus, Henry L. Stimson Center; Former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council; (more…)

On Syrian Refugees and Climate Change: The Risks of Oversimplifying and Underestimating the Connection

Syrian refugee camp on theTurkish border for displaced people of the Syrian civil war. Photo by Henry Ridgwell.

Syrian refugee camp on the Turkish border, 2012. Photo by Henry Ridgwell.

It unfortunately took the heart-wrenching image of a dead Syrian child on a Turkish seashore to fully alert the international community to an unfolding disaster: the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. As the crisis ensues, many in the public eye have been asking the question: What is behind this extraordinary exodus? Essentially, what is the proximate cause? The answer to that question is straightforward. A brutal civil war in Syria has left many people with little choice but to flee. Some commentators are asking another question, however, that seeks to illuminate “ultimate” causes of an unstable Syria, and the current crisis. Namely: What were the conditions that led Syria to collapse, and how can we prevent these crises in the future? And in that context, does climate change have anything to do with it? The answer to that is complex, of course. (more…)

Register for Global Climate Security Webinar #1: August 25

Pakistan Humanitarian AidThe Center for Climate and Security is partnering with Arizona State University’s Global Security Initiative, the Security and Sustainability Forum, and a number of other promotion partner organizations, to launch the “Global Climate Security Series” – a series of webinars aimed at fleshing out the connection between climate change and sub-national, national and international security, as well as offering solutions for governments and civil society. The first in the series, titled “Peace, Conflict and the Scale of the Climate Risk Landscape,” includes a number of key experts, including the Center for Climate and Security’s Christine Parthemore, UT Austin’s Joshua Busby and Columbia University’s Marc Levy, and is designed to provide the “risk landscape” context for subsequent place-based and sector-based webinars in the series. It will be held on August 25 from 1:15-2:45pm EDT. To register, click the button below.

RegisterFor more on the substance of the first webinar, and bios of the panelists, see below (from the webinar series website):

(more…)

Thomas Friedman Cites the Center for Climate and Security on Extreme Weather in the Middle East and South Asia

Iraqis displaced by conflict collect water at al-Takia refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Scorching temperatures are normal this time of year, but an unprecedented heat wave prompted Iraqi authorities to declare a mandatory four-day holiday beginning Thursday. The government has urged residents to stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqis displaced by conflict collect water at al-Takia refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 30, 2015. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman published an Op-ed today, “The World’s Hot Spot,” about the extreme heat waves plaguing the Middle East and South Asia, including Iran (citing AccuWeather’s Anthony Sagliani who stated that a July 31 reading in the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshahr was ‘…one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen, and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world.’) The column explores political protests and sweeping changes in government, particularly in Iraq, which followed from the perceived inadequate response to the heat wave, and asks questions about whether or not enough attention is being paid to climatic events by the region’s political leaders.

Friedman cited the Center for Climate and Security’s Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, regarding how climate stresses are measured against other security risks, as well as how such extreme events can place significant strains on the social contract between governments and their respective publics. The full citation: (more…)

U.S. Troops Deployed to Fight Wildfires in Drought-Stricken Western United States

The Alaska Army National Guard supported fire suppression efforts in June 2015 in and near Willow, Alaska. UH-60 Black Hawks from the 1-207th Aviation Regiment flew multiple missions, dipping their orange water buckets into waters east of Willow Lake and dropping thousands of gallons of water over the east side of the fire, about five miles north of Willow Airport. Sgt. Sonny Cooper, a crew chief for the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, flew on a crew during firefighting efforts, and operated the water bucket during missions. (Photo courtesy of Sgt. Kevan Katkus)

The Alaska Army National Guard supported fire suppression efforts in June 2015 in and near Willow, Alaska.

This week 200 US Army Reserve troops were deployed to fight wildfires in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, joining thousands of firefighters and National Guardsmen who have been working to control one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, including some record-breaking wildfires that were visible from space. At least two firefighters have lost their lives this season. But this year’s wildfires have not been limited to the U.S. Pacific Northwest. (more…)

More Than 70 Countries Tell UN Security Council to Prioritize Climate Security Risks

UN_security_council_2005As part of New Zealand’s July presidency of the UN Security Council, the country hosted a debate around matters of interest to small island developing nations under the heading, “Maintenance of international peace and security: peace and security challenges facing small island developing States.” Not surprisingly, climate risks to these nations were prevalent throughout the discussion. This debate built on an Arria-formula meeting held earlier in the year looking at climate risks to state fragility.  (more…)