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As extreme weather this summer shows, no place is immune from climate change’s impact on the interconnected natural and human systems that underpin stability and security. Iran and Türkiye are two geopolitically critical countries that, despite not being among the very most vulnerable states, face serious climate risks that are likely to fuel insecurity and shape foreign policy. Just this summer, Iran experienced worsening water scarcity and an extreme heatwave that forced a two-day nationwide shutdown for fear of blackouts and protests. Türkiye faced dwindling reservoirs and severe flooding in Istanbul amid lethal wildfires that prompted the closing of the Dardanelles Strait, which connects the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea.
In these reports, CCS and Woodwell combine projections of climate trends, security analysis, and country expertise to convey how climate change is likely to fuel security challenges in both countries and what it means for the United States. The Iran analysis explores how climate change, poor governance, and international isolation are decimating agricultural livelihoods and exacerbating water insecurity–fueling repression and generating tensions with Türkiye, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Gulf States. Meanwhile, Türkiye faces worsening water shortages and wildfires that are likely to amplify domestic political tensions, exacerbate mistreatment of refugees, and fuel disputes with downstream countries over the shared Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
These publications continue a partnership between CCS and Woodwell to jointly create analysis on the nexus of climate change and security in key locations. This partnership combines sophisticated science, policy-relevant security analysis, and compelling presentation to identify and communicate climate-related security risks. Previous case studies examined climate security challenges involving nuclear-armed states, and focused on the Arctic, China-India border region, and North Korea.
Council on Strategic Risks Launches New Arctic Security Report, in Partnership with Woodwell Climate Research Center
June 21 2021 — The Council on Strategic Risks’ Converging Risks Lab and the Woodwell Climate Research Center release a new report today, Temperatures and Tensions Rise: Security and Climate Risks in the Arctic. The publication includes groundbreaking new analysis on the implications of thawing permafrost across the Arctic region for security infrastructure, as well as modeling of the potential security implications of rapid changes in ice loss, temperature change, and growing regional activity.
An interactive story map analysis of this research was launched in May 2021 in support of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. Together, the story map analysis and detailed report provide important new tools for security actors increasingly asked to interact in a rapidly changing Northern climate.
While previous research has examined rising tensions and future security scenarios in the Arctic, few publications have worked directly with climate scientists to model how changing climate realities in the fastest warming region on Earth could interact with these human activities. With each passing year, military and private activity in the region grows rapidly, and these forces will be forced to interact with growing extreme weather, ice variability, and permafrost thaw in the North due to warming temperatures.(more…)