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Do We Need a New Climate Risk Regime?

Photo: UN Photo/Evan SchneiderBy Neil Bhatiya, Climate and Diplomacy Fellow

With the completion of the Paris Agreement in December of last year, the international community fashioned a universal accord on climate change. As a new E3G Report, United We Stand: Reforming the United Nations to Reduce Climate Risk, makes clear, however, Paris  is only one part of the equation. The problem, which this report tries to address, is that the international system’s ability to deal with climate risk – the impacts from climate change that are already occurring – is fragmentary and ad hoc. (more…)

Admiral Titley on Climate Security : a Scientist and a Sailor Speaks Sense to the Senate

Rear Admiral Titley USN RetTuesday, December 8th, the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness held a hearing titled: Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate. The hearing was convened by the chairman of the committee, Sen. Ted Cruz, also a presidential candidate. As such, much of the media coverage of this hearing has been on the partisan divide over climate change issues. Lost in the mud-slinging is the full testimony and responses from Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret), former Oceanographer of the Navy and a distinguished member of our Advisory Board. With credentials as a scientist, and 32-years in the Navy, Admiral Titley has spent quite a bit of time conducting scientific inquiries and risk assessments, and acting on them. The very short version of his testimony is that “this is all about risk management, but if we don’t take significant actions now, the risk could become very difficult to manage.” (more…)

Countries Should Assess Climate Risk the Way they Assess Other Security Risks

National security leaders deal with deep uncertainty on a daily basis about everything from North Korea’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon to the location and timing of the next terrorist attack by non-state actors such as ISIS and al-Qaida. Security decision-makers don’t use uncertainty as an excuse to ignore security threats.

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New Topic Guide: Conflict, Climate and Environment

Bushfire_AustraliaEvidence on Demand has created a new topic guide, “Conflict, Climate and Environment,” by Katie Peters and Janani Vivekananda. Below is an overview of the guide and a list of the key messages. The guide provides an extensive overview of climate and conflict linkages, including knowledge gaps and suggestions for effective and sensitive policy-making. A PDF of the guide can be found on the Evidence on Demand website and is well worth a read.  (more…)

Lessons on Catastrophic Risk Management From South Sudan’s Looming Famine

800px-Refugees_queue_for_water_in_the_Jamam_camp,_South_Sudan_(7118597209)

Refugees queue for water in the Jamam camp, South Sudan. Photo by: Robert Stansfield/Department for International Development‬

Rick Noack with the Washington Post recently penned an article titled “Experts are predicting a famine in South Sudan. Why can’t we stop it?” In the article, Noack explores the dire situation in the world’s newest nation. South Sudan, in the midst of an ongoing conflict, now faces the threat of famine. There are warning signs that the famine will endanger the lives of millions, yet actions to avert the crisis do not seem commensurate to the scale of the risk. As Noack states: “The problem is that South Sudan is following a standard pattern for these kinds of problems: The help only really arrives once it’s too late.”

The situation in South Sudan certainly deserves more immediate attention and response. It is also worth considering what can be learned from this situation about risk management in general. (more…)

IPCC Report Climate Security Takeaways: It’s All About The Risk

Ganges_River_Delta,_Bangladesh,_IndiaThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released findings from Working Group II of its 5th Assessment Report yesterday. The report, titled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability,” addresses observed and projected impacts of climate change on human systems, and what people are doing to adapt. Both the summary for policy-makers and the full report are worth reading in full. At first glance, here are some key takeaways from the security perspective: (more…)

The ABCs of a Risk Management Approach to Climate Change

448px-Risk_LegacyThis is a cross-post by Dr. Jay Gulledge, a senior advisor with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Most people at some point develop a “Plan B” – in case their first choice of college doesn’t accept them, or it rains on the day of their planned outdoor party, or the deal for the house they wanted falls apart. The same principle applies for more dire situations, such as a city having plans in hand for an orderly evacuation in case of a large-scale disaster. We hope such an event will never happen, but the mayor had better be prepared in case it does. (more…)