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Strauss Center Launches Complex Emergencies Dashboard

FlagsIconThis is a cross-post from the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law

31 May 2018

The Strauss Center’s Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia (CEPSA) program released the new Complex Emergencies Dashboard today. In partnership with Development Gateway, CEPSA developed the online mapping platform to enable policymakers and researchers to visualize CEPSA datasets on climate vulnerability, conflict, national disaster preparation, and international climate and disaster aid, along with related external datasets on other security concerns like food access and forced migration. (more…)

The State of the Field in Climate and Conflict

Water_distribution_in_Horn_of_AfricaBy Joshua Busby, Senior Research Fellow
This is a cross-post from the Duck of Minerva

After nearly fifteen years of study, what do we know about the relationship between climate change and conflict? I recently attended a Woodrow Wilson Center event organized by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) on the state of the field. Along with Geoff Dabelko, Halvard Buhaug, and Sherri Goodman, I offered my take on the field (the video is embedded below). (more…)

The Climate Factor in Syrian Instability: A Conversation Worth Continuing

Hoerling et al 2012

Observed change in cold season precipitation for the period 1971–2010 minus 1902–70 (Hoerling et al., 2012).

A recently-released study by Jan Selby and colleagues analyzes existing research on the intersection of climate change and conflict in Syria. The article, published in the Journal of Political Geography, includes a critique of a 2015 study published by the Center for Climate and Security’s (CCS) Caitlin Werrell, Francesco Femia and Troy Sternberg (and a short briefer by CCS from 2012), as well as two other studies by Colin Kelley et al (2015) and Peter Gleick (2014). More research into the climate-conflict nexus in pre-civil war Syria is certainly welcome for better understanding the risks and informing future policies for addressing them. In this study, Selby et al. point to some important gaps in the data on the connection between displaced peoples and social and political unrest, and the possible role of market liberalization in the Syrian conflict. However, the study does nothing to refute the role of climate change in Syrian instability in the years before the war, while muddying the waters on the subject through a few mischaracterizations that are worth addressing at some length. (more…)

Briefer: India, Climate Change and Security in South Asia

India_heat_wave_610_2015

Hottest daytime high temperature during May 24-30, 2015. NOAA

By David Antos, Guest Author, The Center for Climate and Security

South Asia faces a wide array of social, political, and economic issues that already threaten security in the region. The region has a history of border disputes, sectarian violence, and government corruption. In addition, population increases continue to stress the growing problems associated with urbanization, such as poor sanitation, the spread of disease, resource allocation, and meeting energy demands. The region is also particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In this context, climate change could exacerbate existing insecurities in South Asia, and potentially heighten the likelihood of instability.  To read more, click here for the full briefer, “India, Climate Change and Security in South Asia.”

 

A Storm Without Rain: Yemen, Water, Climate Change, and Conflict

Water_reservoir,_yemen

Water reservoir in Yemen, by Mufaddalqn

By Collin Douglas, Center for Climate & Security Research Fellow

The civil war in Yemen has old origins, but the recent violence can be traced back to the Arab Spring of 2011, and protests in Yemen over unemployment, corruption, and general dissatisfaction with President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[i]  On the surface, the civil war seems to be a politically-motivated competition for power among many actors with varying motives. However, underneath the obvious political and societal tensions, there lies a more basic tension: water. (more…)

Climate Change in the Levant: Further Evidence Strengthens Case for Role in Syrian Instability

Syria migration

Reuters/Rodi Said

By Dr. Colin Kelley, Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

A new study provides the strongest evidence to date that the drying of the eastern Mediterranean Levant region over recent decades is very likely the result of human influence on the Earth’s climate system. This research uses tree-ring data in the Old World Drought Atlas to better characterize year-to-year and decade-to-decade natural rainfall variability over the greater Mediterranean basin. (more…)

“Is Climate Change the Biggest Security Threat?” Is Still A Bad Question

World Map, showing Failed States according to the

World Map, showing Failed States according to the “Failed States Index 2013” (by Ithinkhelikesit)

What is the biggest national security threat? Is climate change the biggest national security threat? We, and the current U.S. presidential candidates, get these questions quite a bit. They are not good questions. These questions confuse the nature of today’s security threats, and more specifically, obscure the complex way in which climate change affects the broader security landscape. Climate change is not an exogenous threat, hermetically sealed from other risks. It is, as the CNA Corporation first stated in 2007, a “threat multiplier.” The impacts of climate change interact with other factors to make existing security risks – whether it’s state fragility in the Middle East, or territorial disputes in the South China Sea – worse. (more…)

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