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In a recent CNN interview by Jason Miks, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the President of Iceland, went into great detail about the changing geopolitical conditions in a melting Arctic and the distinct role of the United States in the region. Iceland, an Arctic nation which recently rebounded from a severe economic shock, can certainly teach us something about balancing domestic and international security priorities (Iceland’s security is also entirely handled by the U.S. military, so its perspective on this issue is quite consistent with that of our armed forces in the region). (more…)
In the past few weeks, we’ve noticed an unusual number of articles about significant flood events that are occurring, or have recently occurred, around the world. Though it is far too soon to determine whether or not these floods are associated with climate change, projections for global rainfall variability suggest that more extreme and unpredictable flooding is likely in our future. The first step in preparing for such a future is recognizing and calling attention to these extreme events, and their real human security implications. Such reports are easily lost in the shuffle of the daily news cycle, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list below. (more…)
Less visibly, U.S. and Russian interactions over a rapidly-changing Arctic are getting interesting. The U.S. and Russia have shared the Arctic since the former purchased Alaska from the latter (in its Imperial form) in 1867, but the effects of climate change may lead the two powers into uncharted waters, both literally and figuratively. (more…)
As the international community observed the UN World Water Day last Friday, March 22, two Central Asian countries were part of important talks at UN Headquarters in New York concerning water-sharing. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been engaged in a dispute over the building of a reservoir-type Rogun hydroelectric power plant in Tajikistan, which Uzbekistan has contended would disrupt flow to downstream countries, including itself. Uzbekistan, a country never absent from important meetings on water issues, proposed an alternative to the Rogun project involving the construction of smaller hydroelectric plants, which would bypass or avoid changes to the stream-flow regime. These talks bring attention to a broader nexus of water, climate and energy security in Central Asia that is worth watching closely by both regional leaders and the international community. (more…)
As reported by EPI yesterday, global grain stocks dropped “dangerously low” in 2012, largely as a result of droughts that “devastated several major crops—namely corn in the United States (the world’s largest crop) and wheat in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Australia.” What makes these lows very dangerous is that consumption of grains are significantly outpacing production. Demand is growing, while more and more crops are withering in the sun. (more…)
David Sandalow, Acting Undersecretary of Energy and Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, recently spoke at the Columbia University Energy Symposium about Hurricane Sandy, its impacts on our energy infrastructure, and what we can expect in a climate-changing world. Addressing climate change, he states: (more…)