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Gen. Middendorp and Bergema: How Climate Change Fuels Violent Extremism

Sudan_Nile_agriculture_LandsatIn an article published yesterday on the anniversary of 9/11 by the IPI Global Observatory, General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) and former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, and Reinier Bergema of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, highlight the links between climate change, water insecurity, and violent extremism – particularly in “Western, Central, and Eastern Africa, and several countries in the Middle East.” The article is part of an article series that the IPI Global Observatory is publishing in advance of Climate Week in New York (watch this space for more). Click here for the full article.

Webinar: Climate Risk Reduction at the National and Sub-National Scale

Emergency_food,_drinking_water_and_shelter_to_help_people_displaced_in_Rakhine_State,_western_Burma._(8288488088)Register now for a webinar on Monday, Oct. 26, “Climate Risk Reduction at the National and Sub-National Scale,” hosted by Arizona State University’s Global Security Initiative. The webinar speakers include: David V. Adams, Director for Health Security and Climate Resilience Policy at the National Security Council, who will speak about the United States; Commander David Slayton USN (Ret.), research fellow with the Hoover Institute who will explore the Arctic; Swathi Veeravalli, scientist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who will touch on Central and South Asia; and Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, Founding Directors of the Center for Climate and Security, who will highlight the Middle East and North Africa. The webinar will be moderated by Chris Boone, Dean of the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. See below for a full description of the webinar, and a link to register.  (more…)

Thomas Friedman Cites the Center for Climate and Security on Extreme Weather in the Middle East and South Asia

Iraqis displaced by conflict collect water at al-Takia refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 30, 2015. Scorching temperatures are normal this time of year, but an unprecedented heat wave prompted Iraqi authorities to declare a mandatory four-day holiday beginning Thursday. The government has urged residents to stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqis displaced by conflict collect water at al-Takia refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, July 30, 2015. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman published an Op-ed today, “The World’s Hot Spot,” about the extreme heat waves plaguing the Middle East and South Asia, including Iran (citing AccuWeather’s Anthony Sagliani who stated that a July 31 reading in the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshahr was ‘…one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen, and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world.’) The column explores political protests and sweeping changes in government, particularly in Iraq, which followed from the perceived inadequate response to the heat wave, and asks questions about whether or not enough attention is being paid to climatic events by the region’s political leaders.

Friedman cited the Center for Climate and Security’s Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, regarding how climate stresses are measured against other security risks, as well as how such extreme events can place significant strains on the social contract between governments and their respective publics. The full citation: (more…)

Cascading Disasters in the Mediterranean: Storm in Lampedusa

800px-Boat_People_at_Sicily_in_the_Mediterranean_SeaLast Friday the Mediterranean areas around Southern Italy experienced a rare “Medicane” event of tropical storm-like conditions. Jeff Master’s explains the science behind these rare weather events, and the likelihood of seeing more of them under a changing climate.

Storms of this nature are just one more stress to the small Italian island that is also a main point of entry to the European Union for migrants and refugees from places like Syria and Eritrea. The voyage from point of origin to the shores of Europe and Italy is no cruise (more…)

Lebanon on the brink of a resource crisis?

LebanonCampsSyrianBorderThis is a guest post by Joanne Lucas

Now that summer is on its way, Lebanon is bracing itself for a severe drought that will negatively impact food and water security. A few factors combined will likely create severe problems this summer, as temperatures start to rise. First, Lebanon has had a record dry winter. As the country relies on wet winters for most of its precipitation, this is a real problem. The average precipitation from December to March is around 812 mm, while this season only 413 mm has fallen, almost half of the average. Not only has the rain stayed away, but a significant influx of Syrian refugees into the country is increasing demand for water and food. There are now over a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which equals one quarter of the resident population (specifically, there are 220 Syrian refugees for every 1,000 Lebanese residents). (more…)

Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?

City skyline from a coastal defense breakwater in Alexandria, EgyptIn a new post titled “Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?” the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Schuyler Null and Maria Preble have done an admirable job of reviewing both our report with the Stimson Center and the Center for American Progress, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” and E3G’s “Underpinning the MENA Democratic Transition.” From their summary: (more…)

Yemen: The Problems We’re Not Hearing About

Yemen is plagued by massive security problems. It is a hub for domestic and international Islamist terrorism, housing some of al Qaeda’s most experienced and determined operatives, is currently the host of an intense drone-strike campaign by the United States, is passing through a volatile governmental transition (the UN Security Council issued a resolution yesterday threatening sanctions and calling for the cessation of hostilities from armed groups), and according to Nancy Lindborg at USAID, currently counts more than 550,000 internally displaced peoples. (more…)