We are entering the last days of the BCSC 2020, with insightful discussions on a number of climate security challenges still to come, as well as the launch of our “21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy” essay series. Building on the high-level political Part I of BCSC 2020 back in July, this second part aims to bring together the field’s various actors in the realm of climate, development and security policy in one digital space to meet the strategic goals of sharing good practice on what works on the ground and help inform policy processes.
Two current catastrophes with a strong climate change impact are illustrating a different kind of climate security landscape. They should be seen as a wakeup call that alerts us of the urgency of finding sustainable solutions. The devastating forest fires in the Western United States, especially California, have already destroyed more than 4000 buildings and forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes. The area affected, more than 12 million acres, is nearly as large as that of the island of Vanuatu. Moving further north, the sea ice in the Arctic reached its annual minimum extent by mid-September, just 3.74 million square kilometres. In four decades of satellite recording, this is the second-lowest level on record.
Both catastrophes are worrisome signals of long-term downward trends. Given the current atmosphere of climate denial in significant parts of the United States, the elections in early November are taking on more and more the character of a final exam – one that will determine whether the United States returns to the table to ensure global risk management, or stays at the margin to play with fire – and no ice.
The pandemic and racial justice protests call for justice and crisis preparedness – an opportunity also to act on climate change. Successfully taking advantage of this momentum, however, requires a climate strategy that ensures everyone has a voice and a stake. Here, Paul Joffe builds on a previous correspondence about how to begin that effort in this time of crisis.