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From India to Yemen: Blackouts, Heat Waves and Civil Unrest

Water_reservoir,_yemenTwo stories of blackouts this week filled the international headlines: one from India and another from Yemen. Located over two thousand miles away from each other, the two cases share a few characteristics: the respective governments’ inability to provide a steady power supply to their citizens, climate and water stress, and serious public discontent as a result. (more…)

A Flood of Flood Reports: A global list of recent events

Mandakini-left-bank-broken-bridge-rudraprayag-sangam-gIn the past few weeks, we’ve noticed an unusual number of articles about significant flood events that are occurring, or have recently occurred, around the world.  Though it is far too soon to determine whether or not these floods are associated with climate change, projections for global rainfall variability suggest that more extreme and unpredictable flooding is likely in our future. The first step in preparing for such a future is recognizing and calling attention to these extreme events, and their real human security implications. Such reports are easily lost in the shuffle of the daily news cycle, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list below. (more…)

U.S. and Indian National Security Advisors: Climate Change High on the Agenda

Barack_Obama,_Samantha_Power,_Tom_Donilon,_and_Susan_RiceAccording to a summary provided by the White House, climate change was high on the agenda of a recent discussion between the U.S. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice, and the Indian National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon. The discussion, centered on the U.S.-India strategic partnership, was meant to lay the groundwork for a meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Singh on September 27. The summary states: (more…)

Connecting the Drops – An Indus River Basin Roadmap

Indus.A2002274.0610.1kmThe Stimson Center, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDIP) and the Observer Researcher Foundation have just released “Connecting the Drops: An Indus Basin Roadmap for Cross-Border Water Research, Data Sharing, and Policy Coordination.” This is the product of six months of dialogue and collaboration between an Indus Basin Working Group, comprised of twenty-five analysts and practitioners who sought to identify critical knowledge gaps, prioritize research questions, and formulate practical approaches for meeting needs. (more…)

Admiral Locklear: Climate change the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region

PACOM commander visits MCAS MiramarAs reported by the Boston Globe, four-star Admiral Samuel Locklear, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, provided an “unexpected answer” when recently asked “what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region?” Climate change. (more…)

A Legacy for Secretary Kerry: Pakistan, Climate Change and Holbrooke’s Vision

800px-Secretary_Kerry_Delivers_Welcome_Remarks_(8445457078)Newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry has a long and distinguished history of working at the intersection of national security and climate change. As such, the overlap in these areas of expertise will likely be a particularly important part of his tenure.  (For a good overview of why Kerry should address the security risks of climate change see this recent article by Coral Davenport). (more…)

Pakistan’s SDPI: Climate Change is a National Security Threat

Kashmir_mapThe Pakistani government’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) convened a seminar last Monday which reportedly ended in unanimous agreement that “climate change has become a national security threat.” The session was chaired by Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence, who affirmed that the “Senate Standing Committee on Defence would include climate change as a threat in [the forthcoming] National Security Strategy.” The conference focused on the role of climate change in exacerbating water security issues, including flooding and scarcity (with water high on the “dispute” list with India), particularly given that roughly “60 percent of [Pakistan’s] water comes from glacial melt.” A speaker at the event also highlighted the contribution armed forces of both India and Pakistan are making to the melting of Siachen glacier in Kashmir, echoing warnings from the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.