We are entering the last days of the BCSC 2020, with insightful discussions on a number of climate security challenges still to come, as well as the launch of our “21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy” essay series. Building on the high-level political Part I of BCSC 2020 back in July, this second part aims to bring together the field’s various actors in the realm of climate, development and security policy in one digital space to meet the strategic goals of sharing good practice on what works on the ground and help inform policy processes.
Two current catastrophes with a strong climate change impact are illustrating a different kind of climate security landscape. They should be seen as a wakeup call that alerts us of the urgency of finding sustainable solutions. The devastating forest fires in the Western United States, especially California, have already destroyed more than 4000 buildings and forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes. The area affected, more than 12 million acres, is nearly as large as that of the island of Vanuatu. Moving further north, the sea ice in the Arctic reached its annual minimum extent by mid-September, just 3.74 million square kilometres. In four decades of satellite recording, this is the second-lowest level on record.
Both catastrophes are worrisome signals of long-term downward trends. Given the current atmosphere of climate denial in significant parts of the United States, the elections in early November are taking on more and more the character of a final exam – one that will determine whether the United States returns to the table to ensure global risk management, or stays at the margin to play with fire – and no ice.
The best resource for all of our 21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy content is the official website, hosted by the Wilson Center and adelphi. But the ECC editors are also collecting the topics here for eager readers.
What exactly triggers food riots? At which point does climate change come in? And what can we learn from analyzing the lack and impotence of government action in conflict areas? In our Editor’s Pick, we share 10 case studies from the interactive ECC Factbook that address the connections between food, the environment and conflict. They show how agriculture and rural livelihoods can affect stability in a country, which parties are involved in food conflicts and what possible solutions are on the table.
Tensions in the South China Sea increased last April when a Chinese coast guard ship sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracel Islands—a fiercely disputed territory in the South China Sea. Disputes over island territories in the region have endured for decades, with China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei all making overlapping territorial claims. The region is rich in natural resources and biodiversity, holding vast fish stocks and an estimated 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 cubic feet of natural gas.
Without a coordinated strategy to tackle flooding disasters beyond the traditional infrastructural measures and river water sharing agreements, South Asia’s woes will continue in the future.