Climate Change
Early Warning & Risk Analysis
North America
Dennis Taenzler

The European Union is not the alone in exploring the means to address potential security implications of climate change. EU and Member States representatives met recently in Berlin, at a briefing session regarding this topic. Decision makers in the United States however, are also discussing this issue more intensively, as part of the dynamic national debate on the challenges of climate change and energy security. Led by the Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar, a Senate Hearing was held on “Climate Change and Global Security: Challenges, Threats and Diplomatic Opportunities” in July. The hearing was based on assessments provided most recently by the Department of Defense and last year by the National Intelligence Council. According to Senator Kerry the nexus between today’s threats and climate change are most acute in South Asia, referring to potential terrorist threat emanating from this region. He further outlined that most instruments of US foreign policy will be affected by climate change, for example the readiness of US military operations due to rising sea levels throughout the world.

Senator Lugar linked the question of climate change and conflict to the overall oil dependency of the United States. "As we approach the point when the world's oil-hungry economies are competing for insufficient supplies of energy, oil will become an even stronger magnet for conflict." Lugar outlined that some answers, such as developing renewables, can be useful in addressing a cluster of threats confronting US national security. According to the Senator, the same holds true for the development of clean coal technologies as one the main energy sources, not only in the US but also in China and India. The Hearing in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations increased momentum for a new US climate and energy policy approach, as envisaged in the House bill introduced by Congress members Edward J. Markey and Henry A. Waxman. It remains to be seen however, if that momentum for a more proactive climate policy approach will last until year’s end to positively influence the national and international climate decision making processes.

For more information on the US Senate Hearing, please see http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/2009/hrg090721p.html

For the meeting report of the Berlin Briefing on "Climate Change and International Security" facilitated by Adelphi Research, please see http://ecc-platform.org/sites/default/images_old/stories/stories/newsletter/ccis_berlin_2009_briefing_report.pdf

 

Published in: ECC-Newsletter, August 2009 

Sustainable Transformation
Global Issues
UN News

Greenhouse gas emissions are down and air quality has gone up, as governments react to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, has cautioned against viewing this as a boon for the environment. In this First Person editorial from UN News, Ms. Andersen calls instead for a profound, systemic shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.

Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Early Warning & Risk Analysis
Security
Asia
Dr. Dhanasree Jayaram

South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.

Cities
Climate Change
Sustainable Transformation
Technology & Innovation
Global Issues
Asia
Kongjiang Yu, Urbanet

With cities continuously more threatened by climate change-induced disasters, urban planning’s reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.

Conflict Transformation
Security
South America
Central America & Caribbean
Andrés Bermúdez Liévano, Diálogo Chino

During the past two weeks, Antigua & Barbuda, Nicaragua and Panama ratified the Escazú Agreement, giving a major boost to the unprecedented and innovative Latin American pact that seeks to reduce social conflicts and protect frontline communities in the world’s deadliest region for environmental defenders.