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NPR on Climate and Security Scenarios with Francesco Femia

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An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base affected by major flood damage, March 17, 2019 (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

In yesterday’s episode of NPR’s On Point, Meghna Chakrabarti interviewed journalist Emily Atkin and Francesco Femia, the Council on Strategic Risks’ CEO and Co-Founder of the Center for Climate and Security, to discuss the implications of climate change for global instability and conflict. The show built upon an article in the New Republic by Emily Atkin, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, exploring a catastrophic 2100 climate scenario. Francesco touched on a number of topics, including climate risks to military installations, the growing bipartisan U.S. national security consensus on climate change and security (including across the intelligence and defense community), as well as the strategic benefits of U.S. investments in climate prevention and preparation (and conversely, the strategic negatives, vis-a-vis its competitors and adversaries, of doing nothing). Listen to the On Point episode here. The segment with Francesco Femia starts at 25:05, but the full show is worth a listen.

How Jordan’s Climate and Water Crisis Threatens its Fragile Peace

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A satellite image showing the Wadi Rum desert and irrigated farmland in Jordan. (Image credit: NASA)

By Peter Schwartzstein

For years, security service recruitment has masked climate instability in rural Jordan. Now that strategy is breaking down and no one knows what will take its place.

In the desert villages of south Jordan, the security services dominate. They run many of the schools. They maintain the roads, water infrastructure, and bridges. Crucially, they also employ most of the men.

Roughly 70% of those in full time employment in rural stretches of the southern governorates are in the army, civil defense, or intelligence corps, according to CCS research conducted in about 20 villages, a figure that rises to around 90% in some of the most distant, isolated communities. Most of the other residents are dependent on soldiers’ spending. Such is the security services’ outsized role that many districts have practically been emptied of young and middle-aged men. “It’s only when the soldiers are back home that this feels anything like a village,” said one farmer in the far southern Aqaba governorate. (more…)

Global Peace Index Factors in Climate Change Risks for the First Time

GPI 2019Every year since 2007, the Institute for Economics and Peace has published the “Global Peace Index (GPI),” which, as the title implies, measures the “peacefulness” of nations and regions of the world. In 2019, the GPI for the first time factored climate change into its analysis, and the results were significant. The GPI determined that climate change already has a notably negative impact on peace and security, illustrated by the following top 7 findings:

  • An estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards. Of this number, 400 million or 41 per cent, reside in countries with already low levels of peacefulness.
  • Climate change can indirectly increase the likelihood of violent conflict through its impacts on resource availability, livelihood security and migration.
  • In 2017, 61.5 per cent of total displacements were due to climate-related disasters, while 38.5 per cent were caused by armed conflict.

(more…)

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…)

Arctic Peoples and Security Conference: Jan 29-30

InuitA conference this week we thought our readers might be interested in. It is being hosted by the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, in partnership with the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, The Inuit Knowledge Centre, St. Jerome’s University and the Centre for Contemporary International History. The conference will focus on engaging “decision-makers and the academic community in a conversation about how to better integrate the needs and wants of northern residents into the broader Arctic security debate.”

It is sold out, but there will be a live webcast on both days.