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Late summer 2020 is serving as yet another reminder that the 21st century will be profoundly shaped by complex and compounding emergencies. In the United States alone, the confluence of severe natural disasters with the COVID-19 pandemic is jarring even those of us who focus on such threats for a living. Multiple hurricanes and tropical storms are proceeding toward the East and Gulf Coasts. The wildfire season across the Western U.S. is creating apocalyptic conditions. As Robinson Meyer described in The Atlantic, “In 2018…I noted that six of the 10 largest wildfires in state history had happened since 2008. That list has since been completely rewritten. Today, six of California’s 10 largest wildfires have happened since 2018—and five of them have happened this year.” At the same time, as of mid-September the nation is still seeing around 39,000 new COVID-19 cases being reported each day as we near a staggering 200,000 deaths from this pandemic. These events are overlaid on the profound shifts resulting from decades of injustice and systemic racism in our society.(more…)
Extreme weather events are making headlines around the world. ReliefWeb’s global disaster map shows over 2,000 ongoing disaster events. Not showed on the map is the political fallout that often plagues governments that inadequately prepare for, or respond to, these disasters. Though such political consequences are nothing new (see here for more on “disaster politics”), as extreme weather events increase in frequency and intensity, it is quite possible that political volatility could also increase in frequency and intensity. Below is a sampling from around the world of governments currently dancing with disasters. (more…)
The Australian government has just released its new national security strategy titled “Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia’s National Security.” Within its fifty-eight pages, the security challenge of climate change is featured under the heading of “broader global challenges with national security implications,” and described in the following way: (more…)
This blog is a cross-post which originally appeared on AlertNet
By Tom Mitchell
Tom Mitchell is head of climate change at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and one of the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters (SREX) (more…)