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Climate Change in the Levant: Further Evidence Strengthens Case for Role in Syrian Instability

Syria migration

Reuters/Rodi Said

By Dr. Colin Kelley, Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

A new study provides the strongest evidence to date that the drying of the eastern Mediterranean Levant region over recent decades is very likely the result of human influence on the Earth’s climate system. This research uses tree-ring data in the Old World Drought Atlas to better characterize year-to-year and decade-to-decade natural rainfall variability over the greater Mediterranean basin. (more…)

New Article: “The Nexus of Climate Change, State Fragility and Migration”

Reuters/Rodi Said

Reuters/Rodi Said

Imperial College London’s Angle Journal recently published an article by Center for Climate and Security Co-directors Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia titled “The Nexus of Climate Change, State Fragility and Migration.” Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

The greatest migration since World War II is under way. Refugees are flowing in record numbers from Syria to both surrounding countries, and Europe. It is a humanitarian crisis of the highest order.

The proximate cause of this migration – the most immediate reason for it – is the long and brutal conflict in Syria. But a humanitarian crisis of such a historic and horrific scale necessitates the asking (and answering) of broader questions concerning a range of potential underlying contributors and causes. Here we examine the role of climate change with regard to state fragility and migration, and propose three guiding principals for governments to follow when faced with complex and uncertain climate-related threats.

Click here for the full piece.

Pres. Obama On How Climate Risks Compare To Other National Security Priorities

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the concluding session of the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER) in Anchorage, Alaska, on August 31, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Pres. Obama delivers remarks at the GLACIER conference in Alaska. State Department photo

During President Obama’s recent visit to Alaska, Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell sat down with him to talk climate. One of Goodell’s questions to President Obama was on how climate change compared to other national security risks. Both the question and President Obama’s response are worth reading and are copied below. Goodell also noted the significance of National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s participation in the Alaska trip: (more…)

On Syrian Refugees and Climate Change: The Risks of Oversimplifying and Underestimating the Connection

Syrian refugee camp on theTurkish border for displaced people of the Syrian civil war. Photo by Henry Ridgwell.

Syrian refugee camp on the Turkish border, 2012. Photo by Henry Ridgwell.

It unfortunately took the heart-wrenching image of a dead Syrian child on a Turkish seashore to fully alert the international community to an unfolding disaster: the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. As the crisis ensues, many in the public eye have been asking the question: What is behind this extraordinary exodus? Essentially, what is the proximate cause? The answer to that question is straightforward. A brutal civil war in Syria has left many people with little choice but to flee. Some commentators are asking another question, however, that seeks to illuminate “ultimate” causes of an unstable Syria, and the current crisis. Namely: What were the conditions that led Syria to collapse, and how can we prevent these crises in the future? And in that context, does climate change have anything to do with it? The answer to that is complex, of course. (more…)

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