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In the January 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, the Director of National Intelligence offered this clear prediction: “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or largescale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability…”
It is hard to come up with a better description of the current crisis.
A few pages later, the report predicts that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond. Climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security.” (more…)
The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent: The Urgent Need For a Climate-Security Governance Architecture
This article was first published on AsiaGlobal Online (April 29, 2020)
Today’s international security and governance architecture was born of the post-World War II period, when a conflict-weary world sought to prevent another clash of nation-state alliances drawn into battle by the expansionist actions of a few. Yet many modern security challenges do not fit neatly into postwar constructs, argues Rachel Fleishman of the Center for Climate and Security. Pandemics, mass migration and environmental degradation – and, most prominently, climate change – defy national borders and the world must prepare for concerted, coordinated action to prevent predictable cross-border threats.
As a complement to the Center for Climate and Security’s recent post on the Intelligence Community’s warnings about pandemics, and climate change, in its’ 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, it’s worth re-visiting the World Meteorological Organization’s report summarizing the state of the global climate in 2019 (the report; a summary). This report also contains warnings that should be heeded and acted upon as soon as possible, rather than waiting for catastrophic risks to emerge. The report is based on the latest scientific research, and summaries are provided for key global climate variables including “global mean surface temperature, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content, global seal level, ocean acidification, sea-ice extent and the mass balance of glaciers and ice sheets.” These variables collectively affect short term weather events that then influence long-term climate changes, and the picture is one that should have all security analysts concerned. (more…)