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Marc Levy, Deputy Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University, recently gave a presentation at Simon Fraser University titled, “Welcome to the Pressure Cooker: How Climate Change is making our World More Violent and Less Secure.” (Watch the full video here and below). The talk provides an excellent overview of the evolution of the security community’s understanding of climate risks, which in many ways parallels his own research, which began by trying to disprove the alarmists (only to find that some trends were worth being alarmed about)! Levy ‘s presentation provides a very matter-of-fact look at climate security risks and what the future likely holds. (more…)
By Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, U.S. Navy (ret) Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security
From December 1-12, world leaders are meeting in Lima, Peru to lay the groundwork for a global agreement on climate change. But aside from being a setting for this round of international climate talks, the Latin American region is facing significant security and development threats from climate change that are not often reported.
Climate change is a stressor that will compound, and already is compounding, vexing preexisting developmental challenges across the regions’ states – testing governments to the limits of their capacities and affecting populations in diverse ways. While this “stressor” is becoming better appreciated by development stakeholders, a dimension that is not as well-appreciated is the impact climatic and environmental shifts will have on states’ security in general, and on the operations of regional militaries more specifically. Below is a sub-regional breakdown – a sort of “get to the point” compilation – of the implications of climate change on this growing, dynamic and increasingly relevant region of the globe. The compilation draws from and builds on a joint military assessment I contributed to as a consultant for U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). The geographic categories below reflect a structure commonly used in the U.S defense sector. (more…)
The latest synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) re-issued some dire warnings. These include significant risks to food security, and the increased probability of conflict that could occur as climate change amplifies other known drivers of conflict, such as “poverty” and “economic shocks.”
But the top takeaway from the climate-security point of view is the notion that we are very close to climate change inflicting “severe, widespread, and irreversible” damage, and that “many aspects of climate change and its impacts will continue for centuries, even if anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are stopped.” The bottom line is that no matter what we do or do not do today to slow the rate of climate change, we are going to have to prepare to live in a warmer and more insecure world. (more…)
This is a cross-post from the New Security Beat, written by Cullen Hendrix.
Opportunity Costs: Evidence Suggests Variability, Not Scarcity, Primary Driver of Water Conflict
Nearly 1 billion people lack reliable access to clean drinking water today. A report by the Water Resources Group projects that by 2030 annual global freshwater needs will reach 6.9 trillion cubic meters – 64 percent more than the existing accessible, reliable, and sustainable supply. This forecast, while alarming, likely understates the magnitude of tomorrow’s water challenge, as it does not account for the impacts of climate change. (more…)