Archive | March, 2015

The Rising Security Threat of Climate Change

31 Mar

Bangladesh-climate_refugee (1)

Climate Refugees in Bangladesh. Photo Credit: Sabbir, Wikimedia Commons

By Jack Karsten, PISA Staff Assistant

Climate change is not just an environmental threat whose greatest impacts will be felt in the future; it also plays an immediate role in today’s international security issues. For example, a recent study concluded that a sustained drought compounded factors that started the civil war in Syria, a struggle that endures four years later. Rising temperatures will increase competition for scarce water, food, and energy resources with the potential to spark new conflicts and intensify existing ones. Droughts, floods and storms linked to climate change will displace millions of people each year, adding to the humanitarian crisis associated with war and border conflicts. Recognizing the impact of climate change on international security escalates the issue’s urgency.

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A Day for Women; A Day for Climate Justice

6 Mar
A woman outside of Myanmar's capital  weaves plant fibers  to create the siding for a traditional-style house. Photo credit: Sandi Moynihan.

A woman outside of Nay Pyi Daw weaves plant fibers to create the siding for a traditional-style house.  Photo credit: Sandi Moynihan.

Jack Karsten, PISA Staff Assistant

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, it is worth pondering the connection between gender equality and another issue of global concern, climate change. Often overlooked in the discussion of climate change is how it exacerbates the problem of gender inequality around the world. In developing countries, women who depend on access to natural resources for survival suffer immensely from environmental degradation. A simple, but pervasive example is that of women forced to flee their homes during extreme weather events, and then left without economic or social support structures. Such cases have ongoing societal impacts, from inadequate child education to the spread of diseases.  Numbering over half the world’s population and bearing major responsibilities for the wellbeing of their households, women also play a significant role in climate change mitigation.

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Geoengineering: a Viable Climate Response?

3 Mar
One geoengineering strategy: releasing reflective particulates  Image by Hugh Hunt

One geoengineering strategy: releasing reflective particulates
Image by Hugh Hunt

By Jack Karsten, PISA Staff Assistant

Geoengineering has grabbed headlines recently after a panel of scientists at the National Academy of Sciences called for more research into manmade responses to climate change. Environmental groups have opposed geoengineering as a solution for fear of unknown environmental impacts. However, if the world cannot reduce carbon emissions fast enough to curb rising global temperatures, then geoengineering purports to offer a quick solution. However, little is known about the effectiveness or long term impacts of proposed interventions, prompting the call for additional research. Questions of who would control the technology and who it would benefit also need to be addressed. While geoengineering does not replace current carbon reduction efforts, it could provide an important backstop if those efforts fall short of their objectives.

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