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The Interdependence of Climate Security and Good Governance: A Case Study from Pakistan

By Ameera Adil and Faraz Haider

Last year, Pakistan faced the most devastating floods in the history of the country, which is notable because the country lies on a geographical floodplain. The Indus is an ancient and powerful river. The floodplain of the river covers nearly half of Pakistan, where most of the country’s population resides. When the Indus breathes, as rivers do, the lives and livelihoods on the floodplains are quietly absorbed by the water. 

Climate change had a significant role to play in the 2022 floods. The affected areas received 900mm of rainfall between June to August, which is nearly 350 percent more than the long-term average. Nevertheless, the disaster that happened should not have been a surprise since climate-induced disaster projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been repeatedly stating the increase in frequency and severity of floods. Climate change alone was not the only cause of the devastation, however. Poor governance also played a role increating a cascade of security impacts that can still be witnessed at the moment of writing and have now been conjoined with other dynamics of political instability, resulting  in a chasm of insecurities. To unpack this, it is crucial to consider the dynamics of inequalities and discrepancies of governance in Pakistan, and the chain of events from before, during and after the 2022 floods.

Anyone wishing to understand climate injustice needs only to look at Pakistan.The homes that housed the poor were washed away while those that housed the wealthy stood their ground. As a result of these floods, an additional 8.4 to 9.1 million people will now be pushed into poverty, on top of the existing 47 million. As the worsening socioeconomic situation intersects with political instability and recent protests, that have now decreased due to a strict clampdown by the Pakistani government, the conditions are ripe for further social unrest. 

Though climate change caused the extreme rains, the subsequent inequality of the impact of these rains is evidence of the deep underlying socioeconomic disparity and complex issues of governance that are revealed with every climate-induced calamity that Pakistanis endure. Climate change hazards interact with the fault lines in Pakistan’s governance system and practices to multiply threats. Therefore, to attribute all of this only to climate change would be inappropriate and lacking a comprehensive view.


New Journal Article: Climate Change Has Awakened the Polar Dragon

By John Conger & Erin Sikorsky

The inaugural edition of the Journal of Arctic and Climate Security Studies, a new publication from the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, features the following article from CCS leadership:

Climate Change Has Awakened the Polar Dragon

By John Conger & Erin Sikorsky


Three Climate Issues to Watch in Defense Bills this Fall

by John Conger

For many years, a bipartisan consensus has been built in Washington around the risks that climate change poses to U.S. national security priorities. Congress has passed pragmatic legislation to assess the vulnerability of military infrastructure and forces; to expand U.S. military authorities and capabilities for resilience; and to increase emphasis on the melting Arctic and new tensions between the United States and both Russia and China.  

This year, however, climate issues have been drawn into tense and partisan political debates, which at the time of this publication, look like they will lead to a government shutdown. As the overarching government funding issues take center stage, here are three climate issues to keep an eye on as Congress moves defense legislation this Fall.


CCS Welcomes 2023-2024 Class of the Climate and Security Fellowship

By Brigitte Hugh

The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) is pleased to announce the 2023-2024 class of the Climate and Security Fellowship. 

Extreme weather, food and energy crises, and global competition over clean energy are increasingly underscoring the security implications of climate change, prompting a recognition among U.S. policymakers that climate change must be at the center of U.S. national security and foreign policy. To meet this goal, there is a need for increased integration and capacity in  the U.S. security and climate workforces. The Climate Security Fellowship creates a space for mid-career professionals to explore the impact of climate on security and security on climate while building a network of professionals working at this nexus. 

The 2023-2024 class of 12 fellows comes from a diverse set of backgrounds and expertise critical to advancing a whole of society response to climate security risks. During their term, they will have opportunities to engage with expert speakers, discuss a syllabus of key climate security topics, and build relationships with the CCS network and one another. The CCS team looks forward to collaborating with them over the next nine months.