South Asia’s Scorching Heatwave: Another Window Into Our Climate-Insecure Planet

By Sarang Shidore

South Asia’s cruel heatwave in recent weeks has seen land temperatures reach 122 F (49 C) and air temperatures as high as 143 F (62 C) in India and Pakistan. A brutal April was preceded by a searing March, both setting records on the subcontinent for those months. The peak summer period in the region is in May and early June, so the early arrival of extreme temperatures was another unusual characteristic of this heatwave.

Do Not Underestimate the Links Between Climate Change and Conflict, Experts Warn

General Tom Middendorp (ret.), Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS), is one of more than a dozen leaders in the fields of climate science, peacebuilding, and security to have endorsed a joint statement released on April 27th calling for the links between climate change and conflict to inform a broad spectrum of policy-making and programming.

The statement, initiated by the multilateral climate security analysis and foresight initiative Weathering Risk, urges decision-makers to consider the findings on climate change and conflict in the IPCC report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability published in February in their entirety. Following the report’s publication, some political actors over-simplified and downplayed these findings, implying that peacebuilding policy should not be concerned with climate change.

New Report: Climate Change, Security and Political Coherence in the South and East China Seas

By Rachel Fleishman

Which socio-political, technological, demographic, diplomatic, military, and economic drivers will shape the converging threats of climate change and national security in the South and East China Seas?  This is the motivating question for a new report, from the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), entitled Climate Change, Security and Political Coherence in the South and East China Seas: a Scenarios-based Assessment.

To address the question, the Center for Climate and Security convened a group of regional experts in science, politics, security and adjacent fields to tease out the cascading threats that climate change poses in the region.  This expert input informed four future scenarios for the countries bordering the South and East China Seas.

No Time for Half Measures: A Security Perspective on the New IPCC Report on Mitigation

By Sofie Bliemel and Brigitte Hugh

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III (WGIII) on Mitigation released its contribution to the Sixth Assessment Cycle (AR6) on April 4 after the longest approval plenary in the IPCC’s history. The top-line takeaway from the third and final report of AR6 is that global emissions must peak by 2025 if the world is to avoid global warming over 2°C this century. “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” said IPCC WGIII co-chair Jim Skea, calling for immediate and deep emission reductions to avoid intensifying climate risks. 

An Interview with CS2P Co-Founder, Sofia Kabbej, on “Questions of Climate Security & Peace”

By Elsa Barron

The Climate Security & Peace Project (CS2P) is a team of “young researchers, professionals and students from diverse fields and backgrounds,” and aims to build knowledge on the links between climate and environmental challenges and threats to human security, peace, and international stability. CS2P has worked closely in collaboration with the French Institute of International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), a consortium member of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). Through a new initiative, CS2P created a three-part video series titled “Questions of Climate Security & Peace” with the support of NGO CliMates and the EU Commission. To learn more about this project and the three climate security case studies it addresses, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) asked CS2P co-founder Sofia Kabbej to answer a few questions on the project.

New IPCC Report Calls for Adapting Today to Ensure Tomorrow’s Climate Security

By Brigitte Hugh and Sofie Bliemel 

“The future depends on us, not the climate,” said Dr. Helen Adams from King’s College London, a lead author of the Working Group II (WGII) contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), published on February 28, 2022. In this article we discuss its implications for the climate-security nexus. 

The newest publication focuses on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerabilities, building on the Working Group I report, released in August 2021, which explored the physical science of climate change. At the end of March 2022, the Working Group III installment of AR6, on mitigation, will be released. The report paints a grim picture of already irreversible climate threats, underscoring the importance of climate resilient development to reduce risks. “Taking action now” will determine societies’ vulnerability to climate hazards and resulting disasters and conflict. 

IMCCS and NATO at the Munich Security Conference on the Eve of Conflict: Addressing Catastrophic Risks

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MSC-2022_3-1024x594.jpeg
MSC, Munich Security Conference, Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Fürstensalon. Source: Elsa Barron, International Military Council on Climate and Security, Feb 18, 2022.

By Elsa Barron

The threat of a likely Russian invasion of Ukraine hung over the recent 2022 Munich Security Conference, held from February 18-20. Events and discussions regarding NATO’s role in responding to this immediate geopolitical, and potential humanitarian, crisis were many. Devastatingly, these conversations that were at the time hypothetical are now coming to pass.

Other cross-cutting crises, and NATO’s role in addressing them, were also discussed in depth – including the security risks of a changing climate. In that context, the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) was honored to partner with NATO to host an event titled: “An Adaptation Battle Plan: Implementing Climate Security Action.” Speakers included The Honorable Anita Anand, Canadian Minister of National Defense, The Honorable Baiba Braže, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, General Tom Middendorp, Chief of Defense of the Netherlands (Ret) and Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS), and The Honorable David van Weel, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.

Is it Time to “Climatize” the UN Security Council?

By Mark Nevitt 

Earlier this week, the UN Security Council failed to pass a draft resolution that would have defined climate change as a “threat to peace” within Article 39 of the UN Charter. Under international law, this critical threat to peace determination acts as a key that opens the door to supplemental legal authorities. But this resolution, co-sponsored by Ireland and Niger, was vetoed by Russia, one of the Council’s five permanent members (“P5”).  By defining climate change as a threat to the peace, the Council could have sent an important signal that climate change is squarely within its ambit while setting the stage for follow-on action.

“Missing in Action”: Former Australian security leaders highlight climate-related security threats; call for rapid decarbonisation

A new report released yesterday by the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group calls on the Australian Government to “prevent devastating climate impacts by mobilising all resources necessary to reach zero emissions as fast as possible,” starting with a comprehensive Whole-of-Nation Climate and Security Risk Assessment.

Missing in Action: Responding to Australia’s climate & security failure, lays out a Climate-Security Risk Action Plan for Australia based on four themes: demonstrating leadership, assessing climate risks, coordination and cooperation across government, and acting and investing with urgency.

The impacts of climate change on security have been well documented: climate-fueled water and food insecurity contributed to armed conflicts in Syria, the Maghreb and the Sahel. The Arab Spring occurred after the spot price for wheat tripled due to reduced wheat supply in Russia and China following extreme climate events. Recent commentary has also highlighted climate-related food and water issues in Afghanistan that have contributed to insecurity in the region over recent decades.

Deepening IMCCS Partnerships Down Under

The International Military Council on Climate and Security is pleased to welcome the Australian Security Policy Institute’s Climate and Security Policy Centre as an institutional partner. Led by Dr. Robert Glasser, the objectives of the ASPI Climate and Security Policy Centre include: evaluating the impact climate change will have on security in the Indo-Pacific region; developing practical, evidence-based policy recommendations and interventions to reduce climate change risks; increasing Australian and regional expertise, understanding and public awareness of the links between climate change and national security, and identifying the implications of these links for key Australian government stakeholders.