As the world prepares for a pivotal climate conference in Paris this December, countries are offering their national plans to tackle a changing climate. These plans, known as intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), contain details of what each country is prepared to do as part of a new global climate agreement. While the public focus is often on mitigation – how much countries are willing to reduce emissions, by when and with what degree of transparency – adaptation to the impacts of climate change demands the same level of attention. In fact, the last round of international climate talks in Lima invited parties to include adaptation in their INDCs.
To date, 11 countries -- China, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco Morocco, Serbia, Singapore and South Korea -- have included adaptation in their INDCs. The United States and European Union have submitted “undertakings in adaptation planning,” a formal submission outside the INDC process that was also invited in the Lima decision. This degree of attention to adaptation issues foreshadows what is likely to be an enhanced focus on adaptation in the Paris negotiations.
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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.