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BRIEFER: Climate Change and Vietnamese Fisheries, Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

The Center for Climate and Security’s Dr. Marcus Dubois King writes about the climate change-fisheries-conflict nexus in a new briefer titled “Climate Change and Vietnamese Fisheries: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention.” The article will also appear in a forthcoming multi-author volume from the Center. For the full briefer, click here. For a summary, see below.

Summary: Climate Change and Vietnamese Fisheries: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

Vietnamese fisheries in the South China Sea are a vital economic resource that is in decline and susceptible to climate change. Chinese vessels have engaged Vietnamese counterparts as they pursue catches in waters claimed by China. Projected further northward migration of fish stocks into these waters caused by warming ocean temperatures could aggravate tensions as Vietnamese fishers follow. Likewise, climate change’s impacts on Vietnamese aquaculture threaten food security in areas including those experiencing heavy inward migration. Ethnic minority groups experience a disproportionate share of the negative consequences; a situation that may aggravate existing tensions. Vietnam is an emerging strategic partner in the region. Vietnamese conflict with China and internal instability are inimical to U.S. interests. As it rebalances foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific, the U.S. government should dedicate more resources, including military assets and climate finance, toward improving climate resilience and fisheries management in Vietnam. Constructive engagement on climate change can promote Vietnamese internal and external security while reducing the possibility of conflict with China. Click here for the full briefer.

Hear, Hear! Climate Security in the U.S. Congress Today

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editThere are two hearings this morning in the U.S. Congress that are especially relevant to the climate and security discourse – one on preparedness for extreme weather events  – or a lack thereof – and the other on fisheries treaties (see below). These hearings are both relevant because climate change is all about the water, and both extreme weather events and fisheries are all about the water. Extreme rainfall variability, precipitated (pun intended) by climate change, will likely lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. A warming ocean (which is where most of the earth’s heat goes) is already influencing major fisheries across the world. And an increase in the frequency and intensity of droughts in some regions of the world will likely have an impact on freshwater fisheries as well. In short, climate change is likely to exacerbate water-based stresses on human societies. Or as CNA’s Military Advisory Board put it in 2007, climate change is a “threat multiplier.” We’ve listed the details of both hearings below.

First, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is holding a hearing at 10am Eastern titled “Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared.” UPDATE: A video of the hearing is now up. As listed on the Committee website, panelists will include: (more…)

Fisheries and Conflict Zones: The Critical Role of Satellite Technology

Fonseca_gulf_depleted fisheriesIn an Oxford University Press (OUP) blog yesterday, Dalal Al-Abdulrazzak highlights a recent study she conducted on “global fisheries catch data” which shows that the data relied on by international organizations like the FAO may be, well, “fishy.” In particular, she highlights a major discrepancy between reported catches and estimated actual annual catches in the Persian Gulf, as revealed via satellite imagery: (more…)

Fish (and Food Security) on the Move: Implications for International Security

South_China_Sea_claimsA recent study published in Nature, and cited by the Washington Post, claims that as the oceans warm, marine animals are responding to the warming by migrating from their original habitats in search of cooler waters.   The study also found that as sea life moves from the warming tropics to the cooler poles, no new species are moving into the warm areas to replace the migrants. (more…)

Pirates, Monsoons and Climate Change: Sorry, Johnny Depp’s Not in This One

When one thinks about climate change, and its impact on the seasonal monsoon that affects the Indian Ocean littoral, pirates don’t necessarily come to mind. But maybe they should. A recent piece in Stratfor highlights that the end of the monsoon season, which brings calmer waters, is good news for pirates in the region who rely on steady seas. Climate change, which is expected to alter, and likely delay, the monsoon season, may thus have a non-trivial effect on the movement of pirates. (more…)