Global risk analytics company Maplecroft has just released its Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas for 2015, and what it says isn't very comforting. It finds that the impacts of climate change and food insecurity could lead to increased civil unrest and violence in 32 of the 198 countries it assessed. Those at risk include emerging markets like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Philippines.
The report ranked those 32 countries at "extreme risk," with Bangladesh in the top spot, followed by Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Nigeria, Chad, Haiti, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Central African Republic and Eritrea. It finds that these economies are heavily dependent on agriculture, which is on the front lines in feeling the effects climate change.
Maplecroft finds that risks related to climate change "have the potential to destabilize regional security, hurt national economies and impact the operations and supply chains of business. In addition, military resources, which have traditionally focused on security-based missions, are increasingly being drawn into disaster relief efforts."
The result is a downward spiral of poverty, limited access to education and increased refugee population. Maplecroft cites the example of Nigeria where drought and food insecurity created a fertile environment for the rise of the rebel group Boko Haram, which was in the headlines last spring for its kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls.
"With one in four people still undernourished in sub-Saharan Africa, climate change impacts make it even more difficult for governments across the region to improve food security and help reduce tensions," it says.
It also points to the Middle East, where food insecurity and increases in food prices have led to the so-called "Arab Spring" in Egypt and the current violence in Syria.
“Unlike policy makers who often ignore or politicize the science in seeking short-term objectives, global business and the military now view climate change as an important risk management imperative,” says Maplecroft's head of environment Dr James Allan. “Identifying future flashpoints will help proactive organizations and governments make strategic decisions.”
The report offers some hope, if only people will pay attention to the effects of climate change and begin to mitigate them with strategies such as drought-resistant crops, more resilient infrastructure, economic diversification and poverty reduction. Programs like these are already having an effect in countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia and even some of the at-risk countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh and India, which all improved in Maplecroft's Adaptive Capacity Index. But, it adds, the $100 billion a year that global leaders promised in 2010 to help developing nations adjust to climate change hasn't yet materialized.
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Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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