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New Study: Increased Risk of Armed Conflict Onset After Climate Related Disasters

Marc Kodack PhotoBy Dr. Marc Kodack

Over the past decade, understanding of the relationship between natural disasters, climate change and conflict has increased significantly. The Center for Climate and Security has been exploring case studies of this relationship since 2012, and four years ago, a major study of global datasets found that the “risk of armed-conflict outbreak is enhanced by climate-related disaster occurrence in ethnically fractionalized countries.”

The most recent addition to this growing body of literature is Tobias Ide and his colleagues (2020), who have presented the first multi-method study of climate-related disasters and conflict. They investigate the nature of the pathways connecting these disasters to conflict, as well as the contextual factors. Overall, the authors find that there is “an increased risk of armed conflict onset immediately after climate related disasters.” That’s a significant finding, though the relationship is not a generic one. (more…)

U.S. Department of Defense Funds Research on Capturing Water from Fog

Marine_Fog_Pattern_Moon Bay

Marine fog rolls in at Half Moon Bay, California

By Marc Kodack

Ensuring sufficient potable water supplies are available for its military and humanitarian operations, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will be challenged to meet these potable water needs as climate change and its effects on water supply are felt around the world. To help address this, DoD awarded a grant to California State University, Monterrey Bay to test the efficiencies of capturing water, via mesh-based devices, from “fog events” along coastal California. The grant was from DoD’s Research and Education Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Minority-Serving Institutions. A mesh device produces potable water that can be used by people and for irrigation. The research will also “expand knowledge about the generation and dissipation of fog” using existing droplet measuring technology.

The Streetlight Effect in Climate-Conflict Research on Africa

somaliaBy Cullen Hendrix, Senior Research Advisor, The Center for Climate and Security

Climate change research on Africa has a streetlight problem: researchers tend to invest more attention on former British colonies and countries with relatively open, stable political systems than other countries, with these factors emerging as more important than objective indicators of “need” like physical exposure to climate change or adaptive capacity. That is, our research seems less guided by objective need and more guided by convenience/safety concerns. (more…)

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