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Relief Analysis Wire: Two Important Lessons for Syrian Food Aid

448px-Women_refugees_from_Syria_queue_to_register_on_arrival_at_the_Zaatari_camp_in_Jordan_(8423857990)This is a cross-post by Mehmet Burk from Relief Analysis Wire.

As one of the most staggering humanitarian crises in recent decades continues to rapidly accelerate in Syria, the ability to effectively deliver food aid to vulnerable populations is paramount. 4 million Syrians cannot access basic foods according to the World Food Programme, and escalating tensions will not help agricultural production. (more…)

CNA’s Vice Admiral Lee Gunn Goes to Texas to Talk Climate and Security

800px-NASJRB_Fort_Worth_overhead_shotVice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) went to Texas on behalf of the Center for Naval Analyses’ Military Advisory Board to talk about climate change as a threat to national security.  While in the Lone Star State, Admiral Gunn spoke with policymakers and energy leaders.  He also made time to meet with Mose Buchele of StateImpact Texas for an interview to discuss the impacts of climate change on international security and military installations in Texas. Here is a part of the interview that looks at the overlapping stresses between governance, unrest, and climatic and ecological variables: (more…)

A Week of Storms, Floods, Loss of Life, and Tested Resilience

The unprecedented Hurricane Sandy, which hit heavily-inhabited low lying areas along the East Coast of the United States, has claimed over 110 lives, according to the most recent reports. While it is too soon for anyone to definitively claim that the storm resulted from climate change, its unusual path has raised that very question, and a number of experts are also reinforcing the simple fact that projected climatic changes, and projected rises in sea levels, will likely make these kinds of extreme events more common in the coming decades (and that places like New York City may need to permanently expand their flood zones). The hurricane has led both New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, to make strong public declarations about the need to prepare for expected climatic changes. (more…)

Study: Very hot temperatures correlated with greater risk of violence in East Africa?

A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and led by John O’Loughlin of the University of Colorado, Boulder, looks at correlations between temperature and conflict in nine countries in East Africa (Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda). The authors utilized data from over 16,000 conflicts that occurred between 1999-2009, and determined that “very hot” temperatures do indeed increase the risk of conflict, though “socioeconomic, political and geographic factors” are still the key main drivers. (more…)

Gut Punch Resiliency: Bouncing Back from Extreme Climatic Events

In light of the numerous record-breaking droughts, floods and extreme weather events that have filled headlines this past year, we’d like focus briefly on the issue of “resiliency.”  This oft-mentioned term is lucidly defined by Col. Mark Mykleby, USMC (ret.) as “the capacity to take a gut punch and come back swinging.” In other words, resiliency is not simply about the ability to withstand one event, but also the ability to bounce back after the event, and be prepared to weather another. (more…)

Climate and Security 101: Why the U.S. National Security Establishment Takes Climate Change Seriously

In a 2007 report by the CNA Military Advisory Board, General Gordon R. Sullivan stated: “People are saying they want to be perfectly convinced about climate science projections…But speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.”

The national security establishment in the United States, including the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence community, understand that climate change is a national security threat, and that we cannot wait for 100% certainty before acting to mitigate and adapt to its effects. But not only do they understand it, they plan for it – considering it’s implications in strategic documents like the Quadrennial Defense Review, and setting up an office within the CIA called the Center for Climate Change and National Security. But why? (more…)