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Emerging Threat: As the Arctic Melts, Russian Plans to Militarize Could Create a Nuclear Hotspot

Russian_arctic_claimBy Jasmine Owens

New opportunities are arising for various countries as climate change devastates the Arctic. However, Russia has already begun to stake its claim by increasing its military presence in the region.

The Arctic is experiencing momentous transformations as climate change wreaks havoc in the region. It is warming at twice the rate than the rest of the world. This is creating a positive feedback loop: as the temperatures rise in the Arctic, the sea ice that used to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere is melting more, which causes the darker ocean water or land to absorb more light and thus increases the temperatures in the region. Due to the rising temperatures, the Arctic is predicted to be completely ice-free during the summer by 2050, even if significant international action is taken now to reduce carbon emissions. There is also a major concern that over time, the Arctic will lose all ability to produce ice, leaving it ice-free year-round. (more…)

Climate Change in Russia and the Weaponization of Wheat

Russialsta_tmo_2010208_lrgBy Leah Emanuel

As temperatures in the Russian Arctic rapidly increase and permafrost continues to melt, Russian land feasible for wheat production is beginning to grow. In a new op-ed published in The National Interest, the Hon. Sherri Goodman, Chair of the Board of the Council on Strategic Risks, and Clara Summers of American University’s School of International Service, assess the possibility of Russia weaponizing their wheat.

While wheat makes up only 2.3% of Russia’s total exports, this small percentage constitutes a major portion of the global wheat export market. “Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter,” Goodman and Summers write, “and is expected to control 20 percent of grain export markets by 2028.” Land changes due to climate change will only expand this global power. According to the authors, it is likely that Russia’s wheat-suitable land will expand by 4.3 million km² in boreal regions,, and the government has already announced that it intends to take advantage of these impacts of climate change for its agricultural and economic benefit. (more…)

Pentagon and Northern Command: Climate Change Has Implications for National Security in the Arctic

Gen O Shaughnessy_SASC_2020

General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, USAF, Commander of United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, speaks before the Senate Armed Services Committee – March 3, 2020

By Dr. Marc Kodack

In case you missed it, on March 3 the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sub-Committee on Readiness and Management Support, held a hearing on “U.S. Policy and Posture in Support of Artic readiness.” Witnesses providing written statements and answering questions included the HON Dr. James Anderson, Performing the Duties of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Both witnesses identified climate change implications for national security in the Arctic region. (more…)

ICYMI: How Climate Change Can Assist China and Russia’s Hybrid Warfare

Climate and Security Week in Review Global MapIn an interesting Defense One article from RUSI’s Elisabeth Braw (from late October last year, but we’re just catching up with it…), she details the ways in which a rapidly-changing climate can help facilitate China and Russia’s strategies of “blended aggression,” or “hybrid war,” which involves the exploitation of multiple disruptions in the global security landscape to undermine adversaries. The byline reads:

Increased refugee flows, weather threats, and declining food security will deepen tensions already being exploited to divide and weaken the U.S. and its allies.

Click here for the full article, as it’s worth a read.

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