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Study: Atolls Hosting Critical Military Sites May Be Uninhabitable in 12 Years

Kwajalein_Atoll

Kwajalein Atoll

By John Conger, Director, The Center for Climate and Security

What do you do when your base runs out of water? That’s the question confronting the Department of Defense (DoD) in the wake of a recent analysis that says certain Pacific atolls may not be able to support human habitation as soon as 2030 (i.e. a mere 12 years from now), largely because sea-level rise will likely increase salt water corruption of the atoll’s drinking water supply, and drive routine flooding events that can damage equipment. That’s a problem not only for DoD personnel who live and work on these atolls, but for the local residents as well. (more…)

BRIEFER: Sea Level Rise and Deterritorialized States

Kwajalein_Atoll

Kwajalein Atoll

By Collin Douglas, Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

Excerpt: The definition of a state in modern international law has four requirements: a permanent population, a government, the ability to interact with other states, and most important for this context, a defined territory. The prospect of rising seas making low-lying island states uninhabitable, or completely submerged, puts the territorial requirement in jeopardy. However, there are historical examples of flexibility in state control of territory.

Read the full briefer here.

 

 

More Than 70 Countries Tell UN Security Council to Prioritize Climate Security Risks

UN_security_council_2005As part of New Zealand’s July presidency of the UN Security Council, the country hosted a debate around matters of interest to small island developing nations under the heading, “Maintenance of international peace and security: peace and security challenges facing small island developing States.” Not surprisingly, climate risks to these nations were prevalent throughout the discussion. This debate built on an Arria-formula meeting held earlier in the year looking at climate risks to state fragility.  (more…)