Peace Points: The global heatwave – implications for security



this summer we have experienced record-breaking temperature across Europe and large largely across the Northern Hemisphere has this become the new normal I think what the trends are showing I was quite worrying we've had the record-breaking temperatures in particular places this year on average this year so far is apparently the fourth hottest on record and the three previous warmest is 2015 2016 and 2017 so this is a very very warm period in the world's history and we now have the news of the ice breaking away in the northern Arctic for the first time on record so clearly something big is happening and there are two projections which are worth looking at one is some research which shows that you know for the next four or five years we should be expecting summer saying this and a second one which suggests that moving across the next 25 years or so by the time we get into the 2040s this sort of record-breaking summer will be if not the norm at least common rather than a rare exception so whether the new normal is the right expression to use the trends are definitely in this warmer record-breaking direction what would you say are the main security implications of this development well I think that we have seen some of these implications playing out over the last few years so we know that in some places where temperatures are increasing and the rainfall has become particularly unreliable or else it's particularly intense then there are long dry periods the human habitation becomes less possible and in those circumstances some people at least start to move there's competition over scarce our resources some societies and communities are well able to handle those issues others less so especially if there has been conflict so for example in the in the lake chad region for example we're seeing these consequences play out and Zipporah has cooperated in a report which is coming out and there's another one out soon on Iraq which again shows how in the conflict context the impact of the climate variability is particularly extreme and I think we know how the causal chain unfolds from water security or insecurity through food insecurity to issues of whether social stability can be retained how government forces respond to that very often there are unpredictable developments in society and perhaps unwise and extreme responses by state forces so the security implications are quite intense and widespread and we have seen that start already and I'm concerned we will see more now looking forward what would you like to see happening and more precisely what can be done well I think the first thing is to be understanding what the risks are and understanding how these processes unfold because only then can you really design a good response and on this front I think that we are seeing progress in the United Nations in the Security Council where there is now much more awareness of how climate change plays into the security issues in areas like Lake Chad or Somalia or Iraq and others I think we're seeing more awareness about this in the EU amongst some governments including Sweden so I think that the the process of developing that awareness of risk is is moving along and from that point of view I mean I'm I'm really quite encouraged the problem is I think that the developments when they become visible in the climate or in movements of people or in violent conflict they are very dramatic and progress in dealing with and being able to address those is rather quiet and rather slow and undramatic but it is there it is real it is happening and I think we are probably better place now than we were five years ago to be handling their security related issues related to climate change

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