A Violently Hot Topic: Climate Change and Conflict

climate change and conflict on the table

There is no doubt the topic of climate change can lead to heated debate. Throw in the notion that climate change and its impacts are a proximate cause of violent conflict and the conversation boils over. A potential 54% increase in the incidence of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, based on global temperature rise of 2° Fahrenheit, foretells a future where the current downward trend in violent conflict could be completely reversed.

But skepticism and debate on the topic of climate change and conflict abounds. With the most hard-talking IPCC climate change report released to date, we delved further into these issues, consulting a variety of academic articles, publications and colleagues to help frame the debate. We also interviewed Marshall Burke, professor at Stanford University as well as Margaret Arnold, Climate Change and Resilience Team Leader at the World Bank. We summarize the major issues; probe the link between conflict and climate change; and discuss what is currently being done as well as what more needs to be done to mitigate climate change impacts on conflict.

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Four Compelling Reasons To Be Hopeful About The U.S.-China Climate Accord

Four compelling reasons to be hopeful about the U.S. China Climate Agreement

It is no secret that the United States and China, the two largest national emitters of global carbon emissions, have fallen short in their efforts to address climate change over the past decade. Things, however, just got interesting. Only one week after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its daunting report, leaders of the U.S. and China announced a breakthrough, non-binding bilateral agreement aimed at decreasing carbon emissions over the next several decades. While some critics have been quick to dismiss the importance of the deal, the possible implications of the effort cannot be underestimated. Borrowing from Obama’s quintessential campaign phrase—change—here are four reasons the accord may spur change in the global climate change arena:

The non-binding agreement is a symbolic commitment that illustrates that climate change is a priority issue

In the agreement, among other commitments, the U.S. aims to reduce U.S. emissions by 26%-28% of its 2005 level by 2025. Likewise, China intends to peaks its emissions by 2030. According to scientists and critics alike, these targets merely go a bit beyond or reinstate previously announced targets made domestically by the two leaders. Nevertheless, even if the commitments recycle or marginally exceed existing commitments the US and China have made domestically, the effort is symbolic of the two powers willingness to move the ball forward and find commonalties that were not previously known.

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Coming soon: ‘The Torture Report’

In a soon to be released interview, we talk with Jason Wright, former military defense counsel for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, about the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation of persons captured overseas.

In this exclusive interview, we examine what to expect in terms of a public debate and executive action on the findings of the report. We also discuss how the report should be used in the US’  ongoing counter-terrorism strategy.

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