The race is on for Saudi Arabia to find new sources of income before the oil age peters out. Could acting on climate change cause some of the world’s wealthiest countries to collapse into disorder and danger?
The world dismisses them as economic migrants. The law treats them as criminals who show up at a nation’s borders uninvited. Prayers alone protect them on the journey across the merciless Sahara. But peel back the layers of their stories and you find a complex bundle of trouble and want that prompts the men and boys of West Africa to leave home, endure beatings and bribes, board a smuggler’s pickup truck and try to make a living far, far away. They do it because the rains have become so fickle, the days measurably hotter, the droughts more frequent and more fierce, making it impossible to grow enough food on their land.
On 1 December 2016, adelphi researchers and the former Minister of Environment of Peru, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, discussed the challenges and opportunities of a low-carbon transition during the closing event of the ECC Exhibition at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP).
"Land degradation is a root cause of migration and a trigger of conflicts", says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In the interview, she explains the links between environmental change and violent conflict in Africa. Concrete examples such as the "Great Green Wall" raise hope that conflicts over scarce resources can be successfully addressed and that degraded landscapes can be restored through collaborative efforts.
Large-scale efforts are being undertaken to address the challenges of improving energy access and of climate change adaptation. Author Dr. Vigya Sharma argues that too little thought is given to identifying links between the two, and that tackling poverty and impacts from climate change in an integrated way stregthens our chances of achieving both objectives.
Few would disagree that the Paris Climate Agreement was a massive success for diplomacy – its speedy entrance into force in early November, after less than a year, perhaps even more so. So what could we expect from the subsequent conference of the parties, COP22, in Marrakesh?
The ECC Factbook is an online tool presenting over 120 conflicts with an environmental dimension. This month, our Factbook team reviewed the links between food price hikes and political fragility in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a particular emphasis on the events leading up to the Arab spring revolutions. The latest additions to the ECC Factbook include a general overview of the origins and consequences of recent global food price crises, a series of specific case studies in selected MENA countries, and a discussion of possible policy solutions.
Sustaining peace in Kenya’s Kajiado County requires looking beyond climate change and recognizing the role of land privatization in pastoralists’ vulnerability. Author Jonathan Rozen illustrates how climate change acts as a threat multiplier, exacerbating challenges such as economic precariousness, water shortage and violent land disputes.
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.
China’s massive Asian infrastructure network of proposed new roads and railways, new ports and airports, linking 65 countries to itself must grapple with the same problem as the ancient Silk Road it has been named after. Sand.
Large dams are major nation-building projects. They harness power to generate energy, provide water for large-scale irrigation and can help control flooding. And politicians often describe them as symbols of national power and technical prowess.
Plastics have boosted our economy because they are versatile, cheap and durable. Yet, thanks to these same traits, in the course of establishing a US$750 billion global industry, we have also created a massive problem. Rivers are filled with plastic garbage. Plastic bottles soil beaches. Masses of plastic are floating in the ocean. Birds become entangled in plastic pieces, and whales’ stomachs fill with plastic debris. Plastics can harm humans, too, by releasing toxic additives.