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BRIEFER: How the United States Can Prevent the Weaponization of Climate Migration in a Warming World: A Humane Approach
By Katelin Wright, 2021-22 Climate Security Fellow
The views expressed in this briefer are those of the author and do not represent the position of the Center for Climate and Security or the Council on Strategic Risks.
In the summer of 2021, several European Union (EU) countries began to see an influx of irregular migration from neighboring Belarus. Migrants, including children, from throughout the Middle East, Africa, and some as far away as Cuba, overwhelmed border officials in Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland as they attempted to enter the EU. The ensuing humanitarian crisis was not spontaneous but rather a well-calculated act of retaliation on behalf of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. In response to EU sanctions placed on Belarus over its repression of protests against a fraudulent presidential election, Lukashenko used vulnerable migrants and refugees as political pawns. Deploying a combination of misinformation and disinformation, Lukashenko encouraged people considering migration to come to Belarus as a means to enter the EU. The case of Belarus demonstrates how weaker states can employ unconventional tactics to fight against stronger nations. Although portrayed by the media as a new precedent, countries have weaponized migrants before. Cuba, Turkey, and Morocco, to name a few, have used similar tactics in the past. While weaponized migration might not be entirely new, it is likely to become increasingly common as intensifying climate change contributes to further human displacement and migration. In this context, nations, including the United States, should get ahead of the phenomenon by changing their approach to climate migration – through policies that recognize and address the role climate change plays in decisions to migrate.
This briefer explores the complex and multicausal drivers of migration–from escaping violence to displacement caused by climate change–and suggests how the United States can reform its immigration policies to mitigate the risks of weaponized climate-driven migration.
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.
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.(more…)
An Interview with CS2P Co-Founder Sofia Kabbej on “Questions of Climate Security & Peace”
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…)
European External Action Service building a Climate Change and Defence Roadmap
This is a cross-post from the Planetary Security Initiative
In an attempt to address the links between climate change and defence, the European External Action Service (EEAS) has submitted a Climate Change and Defence Roadmap. With this roadmap, the EEAS proposes to integrate climate change into the defence actions of the EU, including in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) – while contributing to the wider Climate-Security Nexus.(more…)