The Western Ghats are one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world and form an important watershed. In five Indian states, the mountain range is at the heart of environmental conflicts: Fragmentation and deterioration of forests, biodiversity loss, pollution, soil erosion and landslides, soil infertility and agrarian stress, depleting groundwater resources, climate change and introduction of alien species, caused by developmental and mining projects, have raised the alarm in recent years.
Will India back out of a treaty that it had been partied to with Pakistan for nearly 60 years? Is there a risk going forward if Modi’s government were to build dams - would there be an uptake in terrorist activity as a result of reducing water? Michael Kugelman explains the flare up in India-Pakistan water tensions.
Chinese scientists call for countries to work together to reduce emissions of black carbon which is causing glaciers to retreat on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, reports Liu Qin.
As New Delhi and Islamabad trade nuclear threats and deadly attacks, a brewing war over shared water resources threatens to turn up the violence.
On 9 August 2016, India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Anil Madhav Dave, informed the Lok Sabha (lower house of the Indian Parliament) that, according to an Oxford University study, approximately 136,000 climate change-related deaths are projected in India. This is primarily due to decreased food production. He went on to quote figures from a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, published in 2014, which pins the principle causes of death between 2030 and 2050 on malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
A paper published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tests the hypothesis that climate related natural disasters may be part of the cause of conflict in countries with high ethnic fractionalization.
India is all set to embark on exploration and other developmental activities pertaining to polymetallic sulphides in the Indian Ocean after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi approved the signing of a contract between the Minister of Earth Sciences and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), that formalises India’s exclusive rights for exploration in the Central Indian Ridge, and South West Indian Ridge in the Indian Ocean for 15 years. India is not the only country that is actively tapping into the resources of the region, or is attempting to do so. China, South Korea and Germany have also been granted permission to prospect for polymetallic nodules and sulphides, increasing the potential for competition in the region.
Over the past decade, the number of undernourished people around the world has declined by around 167 million, to just under 800 million people. However, this positive trend glosses over a stark reality: Food insecurity is increasing in the world’s mountains. This pattern has been under-recognized by development experts and governments, a dangerous oversight with far-reaching social and environmental repercussions.
2015 was a historic year for international commitments to sustainable development, climate change action, and new kinds of peacebuilding. For governments and policymakers, now comes the difficult task of living up to those commitments.
Security concerns, like ISIS and a revanchist Russia, tend to dominate people’s attention, but less sensational challenges to stability and economic development are piling up as well, threatening to overwhelm humanitarian budgets and prompting governments to shift funding from development to emergency aid.
Intensive international cooperation is a key prerequisite for successful and ambitious global climate action. Russia, one of the world’s top 5 greenhouse gas emitters and the second largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, has long been regarded as one of the major veto players in international climate politics. Nevertheless, during the last decade climate awareness among Russian policymakers and other relevant stakeholders has increased dramatically. This is illustrated by the fact that the updated Strategy of National Security of the Russian Federation refers to climate change as a threat to national and public security. The Paris Agreement gave the Russian climate policy a new strong impetus.
India, as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to environmental change, is at the undeniable centre of various discourses relating to the impact of environmental changes on human security and conflicts driven, or exacerbated, by the exploitation of natural resources. India also has the potential to promote stability and peace through sustainable development and environmental cooperation. Integral to adelphi’s project – “Environment, Conflict and Cooperation” (ECC) – these issues have been dealt with at length on numerous occasions and on a host of platforms. As the ECC exhibition travelled to Manipal University (a university that commands a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east) the primary focus has been to examine the realities on the ground realities and to integrate these into the larger national and international frameworks of climate diplomacy and environmental governance.
At a time when migration has become one of the biggest challenges facing the European Union, the debate surrounding the role of environmental factors in fuelling conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, causing migration, is gaining momentum.