For centuries, the glaciers of the Western Himalayas have fed the Indus River, which flows down the mountains through India and into Pakistan, where it runs the length of the country to the Arabian Sea. In both countries, the river is a crucial source of water for livestock, irrigation, drinking—essential to life and livelihood for millions of people.
But as climate change causes global temperatures to rise, the glaciers that feed the Indus are receding. A series of scientific reports indicates that in the coming decades, the river’s water levels could drop by as much as 40 percent. Already, some Indian policymakersare raising the idea of damming that water off for their own country. That could save the lives of millions of Indians, while threatening millions of Pakistanis. Pakistan lacks the economic, political, or conventional military leverage to retaliate against India if that happens; it matches its neighbor only in nuclear weapons.
National security agencies around the world, including the Pentagon and the CIA, are watching the situation closely, nervous that climate change could one day ignite a nuclear face-off between these two volatile neighbors.
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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.
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.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined priorities for the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 26) during a briefing at UN Headquarters. The briefing was hosted by the UK, which will be assuming the COP 26 presidency in partnership with Italy. COP 26 is scheduled to convene from 9-20 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK.
Several climate security studies have assessed the risks of climate change to security and examined potential foreign policy responses, but the connection between climate change and foreign policy remains underexplored. The new Climate Diplomacy Report of the German Foreign Office takes up the challenge.