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New Report: Melting Mountains, Mounting Tensions: Climate Change and the India-China Rivalry

By Rachel Fleishman and Sarang Shidore

See the associated India-China story map here.

In many parts of the world, climate change is a trigger for disaster. In some, it can also be a catalyst for conflict. On the India-China border, it has the potential to be both—exacerbating an already-fraught relationship with the potential for escalation to the nuclear plane.   

Melting Mountains, Mounting Tensions: Climate Change and the India-China Rivalry is the first of a series of case studies integrating security analysis of instability and conflict involving nuclear-armed states with cutting-edge climate science. The outcome of a novel collaboration between the Converging Risks Lab of the Council on Strategic Risks and the Woodwell Climate Research Center, the case studies aim to raise awareness and flag the urgency of converging climate and nuclear risks at a time when the global security landscape is becoming more complex.  Climate change is the main impetus for new Chinese hydropower projects in the Tibetan Plateau and in Pakistani-held Kashmir. The addition of clean energy to the Chinese grid will contribute to decarbonizing the economy. But Indian populations downstream in the Indus and Brahmaputra river basins worry that China will use its dams to manipulate water flow, inducing or worsening droughts and floods. 

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VIDEO: Is Russia overturning the global order? Maybe. It’s complicated.

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By Andrea Rezzonico 

In the third video of its new series on the intersections of climate change and nuclear developments, the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) posed questions about Russia’s climate, nuclear, and security intersections to four experts with different perspectives. Their responses highlight the range of analysis regarding Russia’s growing influence amidst a changing global order. 

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VIDEO: Can Climate Change Increase the Risk of Nuclear War?

By Natasha E. Bajema, Ph.D.

Yes. But it’s Complicated.

In the second video of its new series on nuclear detonation risks and climate change, the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) posed questions about the impact of climate change on conflict and nuclear proliferation to five leading national security experts with different perspectives. Together, their diverse answers may help us to better understand the complex linkages across climate change, domestic, regional, and global conflict, the effect of nuclear energy on carbon emissions, future trends in nuclear proliferation, prospects for cooperation within the global nuclear order, and the potential for conflict escalation and nuclear war.

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RELEASE: Can Climate Change Increase the Risk of Nuclear Conflict?

The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) Releases a Video Series Exploring the Complex Linkages Between Climate Change, Nuclear Energy, and Nuclear Weapons

Washington, D.C., October 28, 2020 —  A new video series from CSR’s Converging Risks Lab examines two of the gravest threats to global security today: nuclear detonation risks and climate change. One poses the potential for immediate catastrophe, the other, a perhaps slower but comparable destructive force. In the post-Cold War era, nuclear dangers and climate change present major existential risks to society, but their convergences are complex and require experts to navigate multiple silos of experience. Understanding the connections among climate and nuclear trends, and how they might interact with other security risks, is critical for national security and policy planners as well as the broader general public.

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