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By Marcus King and Emily Hardy
Water has been associated with conflict and cooperation between states since the beginning of recorded history. In ancient Mesopotamia, a conflict over the Euphrates River between two Sumerian cities yielded the world’s first recorded treaty.However, water has just as often been weaponized during conflict—water weaponization being the exploitation of the human need for water, by deliberately rendering it scarce and/ or insecure. During World War Two, for example, the Royal Air Force Squadron 617—nicknamed the “American Dambusters”—conducted “Operation Chastise” to destroy three German-controlled dams in Germany’s industrial core. Two of the three targeted dams, Möhne and Eder, collapsed, significantly damaging hydroelectric infrastructure in the country. This is a classic case of water weaponization, and the practice has continued through to this day—all while climate change continues to place serious stress on water resources. This briefer will highlight the core elements of water weaponization, and then assess its practice in the Russia-Ukraine war to date. (more…)
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.(more…)
General Tom Middendorp (ret.), Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS), is one of more than a dozen leaders in the fields of climate science, peacebuilding, and security to have endorsed a joint statement released on April 27th calling for the links between climate change and conflict to inform a broad spectrum of policy-making and programming.
The statement, initiated by the multilateral climate security analysis and foresight initiative Weathering Risk, urges decision-makers to consider the findings on climate change and conflict in the IPCC report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability published in February in their entirety. Following the report’s publication, some political actors over-simplified and downplayed these findings, implying that peacebuilding policy should not be concerned with climate change.(more…)
By Elsa Barron
The Climate Security & Peace Project (CS2P) is a team of “young researchers, professionals and students from diverse fields and backgrounds,” and aims to build knowledge on the links between climate and environmental challenges and threats to human security, peace, and international stability. CS2P has worked closely in collaboration with the French Institute of International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), a consortium member of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). Through a new initiative, CS2P created a three-part video series titled “Questions of Climate Security & Peace” with the support of NGO CliMates and the EU Commission. To learn more about this project and the three climate security case studies it addresses, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) asked CS2P co-founder Sofia Kabbej to answer a few questions on the project.(more…)