“Perhaps I’m a case study for what happens in the federal government when we start on a tough problem,” says Alice Hill, the senior director for resilience policy and the National Security Council and former senior counselor to the secretary of homeland security.
In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, many publics around the world name global climate change as a top threat, according to a new Pew Research Center survey measuring perceptions of international challenges.
National security leaders deal with deep uncertainty on a daily basis about everything from North Korea’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon to the location and timing of the next terrorist attack by non-state actors such as ISIS and al-Qaida. Security decision-makers don’t use uncertainty as an excuse to ignore security threats.
Violent conflicts and security crises around the world have many different causes and effects. The vast majority of them, however, are in one way or another related to energy policy. Yet experts from the foreign policy, security and energy communities have been reluctant to fully grasp the security implications of promising green energy technology and market developments, argue Rebecca Bertram and Charlotte Beck.
Sponsored by Climate Vulnerable Forum members Bangladesh and Philippines, together with all other Climate Vulnerable Forum members and a total of over 110 countries co-sponsoring, including the African Group and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously adopted a new resolution today on human rights and climate change.
Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si”, published on 18 June 2015, is a moral plea for action against climate change and environmental degradation. Besides laying out the Pope’s critical stance on the ecological, spiritual and economic motives to ‘save our common home’, it also sends a central message to policy makers that: international political climate action is more important now than ever.
“Tackling climate change in fact represents one of the greatest opportunities to benefit human health for generations to come”, according to the co-chair of the Commission on Health and Climate, Professor Anthony Costello, director University College London Institute for Global Health. The Commission, a group of scientists convened by The Lancet journal, has published its second report on 22 June 2015.
No-one could have predicted in 2008 that seven years later Islamic State militants would be terrorising eastern Syria and destroying ancient shrines. Nor could they have foreseen how many Syrians would drown in the Mediterranean as they made a desperate bid for Europe. But as the country entered its third year of drought – a symptom of climate change – the warning signs for conflict were mounting up.
"There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever."