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REPORT RELEASE: The Nexus of Climate Change, Ecological Disruption, Stability, and Security


By Andrea Rezzonico

Last week, the Climate and Land Use Alliance launched Climate and Forests 2030, a program aimed at mobilizing finance at scale to help realize the potential of forests to mitigate climate change, benefit people, and protect biodiversity.

CSR contributed a report to this effort titled “The Nexus of Climate Change, Ecological Disruption, Stability, and Security,” which was authored by experts from each of CSR’s three institutes: The Center for Climate and Security, The Converging Risks Lab, and the Nolan Center. This work is a part of CSR’s greater mission to address these converging risks under its newly expanded Ecological Security Program, an initiative of the Converging Risks Lab.

The report examines how climate change and ecological degradation, particularly deforestation and poor land use practices, intersect to undermine security and create instability. It analyzes how this nexus affects security in four categories: the intra-state, inter-state, and non-state actor levels, as well as looking at Indigenous and vulnerable populations through a lens of justice and equity. It then offers concrete recommendations aimed at both managing existing risks and preventing catastrophic risks in the long term. 

Recommendations highlighted in the report include:

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Why I’ve Joined the Council on Strategic Risks as Head of its Ecological Security Program

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By Dr. Rod Schoonover

We are in the midst of an ecological crisis. Biodiversity loss is quickening, ecosystems are collapsing, mass die-offs are rising, zoonotic spillovers are escalating, and populations of harmful organisms are booming. In a January 2021 article titled Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future, 17 of the world’s leading ecologists argued “the scale of the threats to the biosphere and all of its lifeforms—including humanity—is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts.”

Both connected to—and separate from—the climate emergency, ongoing ecological disruption has portentous implications for human, national, and global security. We should expect concomitant risks to political stability, social cohesion, human health, and economic stability.

Surprisingly sparse comprehensive analysis exists in this nascent field of ecological security, however.

That’s why I’m pleased to join the Council on Strategic Risks as head of the Ecological Security Program in the Converging Risks Lab.

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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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