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  • Author: Michael Werz
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for American Progress - CAP
  • Abstract: Policy communities in the United States and Europe are increasingly identifying climate change, environmental deterioration, water management, and food security as key concerns for development and global governance. The interplay of these trends is visible in the upheavals across the Middle East, with food riots and water disputes illuminating the region’s food insecurity. In the five years before the uprising in Syria, for example, the country experienced one of the worst droughts on record, which decimated wheat production and wiped out livestock. In Yemen, tensions—and outright conflicts—over water rights and illegal wells underpin the ongoing insecurity and anti-government sentiment. There is little question that the effects of climate change will cause more extreme weather events and crop insecurity in the decades to come, and it is reasonable to expect that they will magnify such dangerous problems. A few years ago, the complex interplay of several factors—including droughts in major grain- and cereal-producing regions, increases in biofuel production that reduced grain supplies, and other long-term structural problems—triggered the 2007-2008 world food crisis. The disruptions that this crisis caused affected both developed and developing countries, creating political and economic instability around the world and contributing to social unrest. The crisis highlighted the critical importance of better understanding the interdependencies and cascading effects of decisions made throughout the global food system, as well as how climate change could exacerbate such challenges. The increasing urgency of food and climate security requires greater international cooperation and, more specifically, innovative and forward looking transatlantic policy responses to address these pressing issues. Over the past decade, the links between climate change, food security, and political instability have steadily risen on the global policy agenda, and both adelphi and the Center for American Progress have played a role in bringing attention to their importance. CAP has conducted significant research and analysis on the security effects of climate change, including its effect on human mobility, and has elevated these issues in Washington, D.C. For its part, adelphi has a long track record of raising climate security issues in Europe and in 2015 led an international consortium that prepared a report and knowledge platform for the Group of Seven, or G-7, nations on climate change’s effect on state fragility.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Governance, Food Security, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean, United States of America