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New Initiative on Climate and Health: What Security Indicators Should We Have?


Navy Lt. Cmdr. Karen Corson, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa environmental health officer, Janet Schulman, USAID representative to Djibouti, and Dr. Coulibaly K. Abdi discuss the cholera outbreak. Photo by Chief Petty Officer Mary Popejoy

By Christine Parthemore

In 2015, The Lancet, one of the world’s premier medical journals, released a landmark volume on the connections between health and climate change developed by an international, multidisciplinary commission. The Commission on Health and Climate Change concluded that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.” This week, The Lancet launches a long-term effort to build on the commission’s work with a new initiative called the Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change. (more…)

New U.S. Assessment on Climate and Health: More Research Needed on Security Implications


Philippine and U.S. service members learn to identify heat stroke (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Abbey M. Perria)

By Christine Parthemore, Executive Director, The Center for Climate and Security

This week, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released an extensive new volume on the health impacts of climate change. The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment is focused on the American population in general, but just looking at the section titles it is easy to see how many of the specific impacts could require special attention for the security forces based in the United States. Climate change effects that could bring new challenges to the health of U.S. military personnel, their families, and their communities — for example, via temperature-related illness, new patterns of vector-borne diseases, and air and water quality changes — receive extensive treatment. While security issues are not the focus of this assessment, it makes clear that a natural progression would be to analyze potential impacts specifically for U.S. armed forces and their work, including training conditions and force health protection needs.  


A text box in chapter 9 of the assessment highlights these types of challenges for the U.S. armed forces, noting that “key research questions remain” but that the Department of Defense is on the case. Indeed, a natural progression of this extensive assessment will be to analyze potential impacts specifically for U.S. armed forces and their work, including training conditions and force health protection needs.

Call for Workshop Abstracts: Climate, Security, Health and Resilience Initiative

20110823-F-GA004-659Ohio State’s Climate, Security, Health and Resilience Initiative has put out a call for abstracts for a series of workshops and conferences it will be hosting this autumn.  Copied below are the details for the abstract request. More information can be found here. (more…)

China, Water Transfers, Disease and Climate Change: Transferring Risk with Water?

Liujiaxia-DamChina is in the process of constructing a massive “South-North Water Transfer Project” connecting the more water-abundant south to the water-stressed north. There are a number of motivations for building the project including natural water scarcity, increased demand from both increased industrialization and population, decreasing water quality, and recent instances of severe droughts (with implications for global food supply). There are still some uncertainties about how exactly climate change will impact water resources in China, but projections of significant rainfall variability are well-founded, and the government is taking the potential risks seriously. In that context, this project could be seen as part of China’s climate adaptation strategy, though it is already apparent that there are some serious unintended consequences. (more…)