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EVENT: The Security Implications of the Pakistan Floods: A Roundtable Discussion

By Elsa Barron

Pakistan has been hit with unprecedented levels of flooding over this summer’s monsoon season, submerging one-third of the entire country under water. Already, one early attribution study has linked this disaster to climate change, finding that this severity of flooding is extremely unlikely without existing global temperature rise. 

While the scale of the disaster is linked to climate change, the scale of the disaster’s impact is linked to poor governance, writes Jumaina Siddiqui. The politically unstable government in Pakistan has failed to develop comprehensive resilience measures, even after similar extreme flood events of the past. 

This has led to devastating humanitarian costs, and yet that is not the end of the potential risks. As Erin Sikorsky and Andrea Rezzonico write, “These climate hazards will compound existing challenges in the country, including political instability, Islamic extremism, and nuclear security.” Given such intersecting risks, it is critical to take a holistic climate security approach to the current crisis in Pakistan. As Ameera Adil and Faraz Haider write, Pakistan’s climate security threats should inspire a rethink of comprehensive national security. 

In order to discuss these articles and themes, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) will convene a public roundtable discussion on Friday. September 30th, from 9 to 10 am EST on “The Security Implications of the Pakistan Floods.” The expert panel, moderated by CCS Director Erin Sikorsky, will include: 

  • Ameera Adil, Assistant Director Sustainability at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan
  • Faraz Haider, Research Associate, Faculty of Aerospace and Strategic Studies, Air University, Islamabad
  • Andrea Rezzonico, Deputy Director, Converging Risks Lab, Council on Strategic Risks
  • Jumaina Siddiqui, Senior Program Officer, South Asia United States Institute of Peace

We hope that you will join us for this event. Please register here to access the full invitation and webinar details. 

BRIEFER: Papua New Guinea, Climate and Security

In April 2022, the U.S. State Department released a Prologue to the 2020 United States Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, part of the Global Fragility Act of 2019. The prologue selected four countries and one region—including Papua New Guinea—as a geographic focus in developing a blueprint for promoting global peace and security.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is at a pivotal moment in its development. Opportunities to modernize are clashing with traditional tribal strictures; foreign commercial and political actors are vying for favor and resources; and global geopolitical competition is buffeting regional relationships. Exacerbating all of these challenges is climate change. 

This briefer by the Center for Climate and Security focuses on key PNG security risks, and the role of climate change in shaping security outcomes in the country. It highlights both risks and opportunities, and offers policymakers targeted recommendations to prevent instability and conflict in a complex, climate-stressed environment.  


About the author

Rachel Fleishman is Nonresident Senior Research Fellow for the Asia-Pacific at the Center for Climate and Security, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks.

Water and Sabotage in Paradise: Greece’s Hidden Climate Conflict

Greece’s islands might seem like unlikely settings for a wild years-long sabotage campaign, but the explosions tell a different story.

By Peter Schwartzstein

In late July, a person or persons unknown detonated a bomb alongside the undersea Salamina-to-Aegina water pipeline in Greece, leaving nothing but traces of a fuse and leaking freshwater.

Two years earlier, in January 2020, other – or possibly the same – suspects punctured that pipeline in dozens of places with a drill. On that occasion, they set back the completion of the then-under construction project by more than a year.

On Mykonos, Paros, and a good number of other idyllic islands, desalination plants and other forms of water infrastructure have suffered repeated and ‘inexplicable’ breakdowns in recent years. Though impossible to prove malicious intention in many instances, desalination technicians say that not even subpar maintenance can explain away this volume of problems.

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Yellow Card: Global Food Crisis Underscores Need for Systemic Security

By Brigitte Hugh

In January 2022, food prices were already higher than normal. Pandemic-driven supply chain and labor complications combined with intensifying climate hazards had negatively affected global food availability. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, which has drastically reduced grain exports from Europe’s breadbasket, compounding the situation. Among other devastating humanitarian consequences, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to higher global food prices, escalating shipping costs, decreased agricultural output, and limited fertilizer availability, increasing the number of people facing acute food insecurity from 276 million to 323 million. 

Further exacerbating the crisis is a global trade system built to deliver products on an ‘as needed’ basis. Food is moved just as previous stock runs out, which means if one or two deliveries are interrupted, there is no buffer for countries without long-term food stockpiles. This global food crisis highlights the impact converging risks will have on brittle global systems, and should have the same effect as a yellow card in soccer—warning the global community that care should be taken to prevent further harm. 

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