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Deep Dive Into Iran’s Water Woes

Urmia_lake_1984_to_2011Last week, The New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink wrote an article on Iran that outlined a new threat. It wasn’t about uranium enrichment or backdoor discussions between the P5+1. It was about the water levels in Lake Urmia, the largest lake in the Middle East. The full article, “Its Great Lake Shriveled, Iran Confronts Crisis of Water Supply,” is worth a read.

Though the country’s nuclear ambitions still dominate the security discussion around Iran, the country’s natural resource crisis is slowly garnering increased attention. (more…)

Message to Davos: Climate Change Risk Assessments Need to Go Big

World_Economic_Forum_-_World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_Davos_2005A version of this article also appeared on the Reuters Foundation news service, AlertNet

Climate change is on the agenda at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this year. This is good news for those concerned about the unprecedented risks climate change poses to society. (more…)

Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan: Land and Water Conflicts

Kyrgyzstan---Road-from-Osh-to-Tajikistan-Border-45By Svetlana Valieva

Lasting only an hour, a cross-border exchange of fire  (dubbed by some as the first war of 2014) occurred on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on January 11. The incident near the Vorukh settlement included the use of mortars and grenade launchers, with 8 border guards wounded. Poor relations between the two neighboring states, exacerbated by an ongoing dispute over a partly-demarcated border, triggered the escalation. Both land and water are vital to the economies of the two poorest Central Asian states, and both sides fiercely defend their access to cropland and pastures. (more…)

Hear, Hear! Climate and Water Security on the Hill This Week

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editOn Thursday, January 16, the United States Senate and House of Representatives will be holding hearings on climate change and water security.  The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled, “Review of the President’s Climate Action Plan” at 9:15 AM EST.   (more…)

David Michel on Iran’s Environment: Greater Threat than Foreign Foes

Urmia_lake_1984_to_2011The security situation in Iran has made a lot of headlines lately, but largely missing from the analysis is the state of food, water and climate within the nation.  David Michel, director of the Environmental Security Program at the Stimson Center, wrote an article for the U.S. Institute of Peace that helps fill this gap.  Michel states: (more…)

The Atlantic Cities: Climate Change and Water Scarcity

Watering_her_sheep,_Dead_Cities_region,_NW_SyriaAtlantic Cities’ John Metcalfe recently ran a piece arguing that water scarcity – with an emphasis on more severe drought – is the most immediate threat emanating from a changing climate. While we would add “water variability” to that assessment (as too much water, or too much or too little water when you’re expecting something different, are consequences of climate change that are also problematic factors that compound scarcity), it’s important to highlight this issue in the mainstream media, which tends to primarily focus on sea level rise and extreme storms. Given the IPCC’s assessment that we’re already seeing extended droughts that are likely linked to climate change, and recent studies such as NOAA’s 2011 report which linked climate change to the decrease in winter precipitation in the Mediterranean littoral and the Mashreq since the 1970s, its a prescient warning.

Our Interview with Moyers and Co: Syria, Drought, Climate and Security

Digging_irrigation_channels,_Palmyra,_SyriaThe Center for Climate and Security’s Co-Founder and Director, Francesco Femia, was recently interviewed by Moyers & Company’s John Light.  In the interview, Femia discusses the links between the drought, climate change and the lead-up to unrest in Syria.  The interview draws heavily from the Center’s 2012 report, Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest and the 2013 report, The Arab Spring and Climate Change. (more…)