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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…)

President Obama’s Executive Order and Climate Security

SouthPorticoLast Friday, President Obama issued an Executive Order (EO) titled “Preparing the United States for the Impact of Climate Change.” As the name of the EO implies, it is focused on preparing for and adapting to the current and imminent effects of climate change, rather than reducing emissions. In that sense, it is a welcome complement to the President’s Climate Action Plan issued this past June, whose primary emphasis was CO2 reductions. (more…)