The Security Nexus | Webinar on “The Changing Nature of Security in the Face of Climate and Environmental Disruption,” held on November 20, 2023, tackled the profound intersections between climate change, environmental crises, and global security. Hosted by Dr. James Minnich, a distinguished professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, the webinar featured a lineup of esteemed experts: Dr. Ethan Allen, Dr. Srini Sitaraman, and Dr. Sebastian Kevany, offering unique perspectives on the intricate ties between environmental disruptions and security challenges.
The webinar began by highlighting sobering statistics from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, emphasizing the devastating impact of over 140 disasters in 2022 in the region. These crises resulted in tragic losses, including lives lost, millions impacted, and significant economic damages.
The discussions gravitated around the cascading effects of climate-induced disruptions, referencing poignant examples like the devastating floods in Pakistan, illustrating the nexus between natural disasters, climate emergencies, and public health crises.
The panelists, recognized for their co-authored article titled “Everything Everywhere All at Once: Wars, Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Coups, and Economic Collapse,” engaged in a comprehensive dialogue. Dr. Allen highlighted ecological impacts such as spreading invasive species, ocean acidification, wildfires, and melting polar ice. Dr. Sitaraman shed light on geopolitical ramifications, envisioning worsening scenarios and their implications for global stability. Dr. Kevany outlined the health dimensions, emphasizing disease spread, air quality deterioration, food/water insecurity, and mental health impacts.
The conversations delved into the interconnections between crises, revealing the complexity of simultaneous natural and human-made disasters and their detrimental effects on national and human security. The panelists explored unpreparedness in confronting multiple crises simultaneously and illuminated the challenges governments face in addressing these issues.
Moreover, the webinar investigated strategies for mitigation and adaptation. Panelists emphasized the critical roles of regional cooperation, technological advancements, policy innovations, and the importance of climate-resilient infrastructure, early warning systems, sustainable agriculture, and health security frameworks in bolstering resilience.
Addressing audience-submitted questions, the discussion expanded on climate impacts on developing countries, military roles in addressing climate-related issues, environmental communications for climate refugees, and strategies adopted by major powers like China and the United States.
The webinar concluded with gratitude to the esteemed guests and an invitation for future discussions. Dr. Minnich announced an upcoming exclusive interview with The Stimson Center’s Ms. Yun Sun on December 4, 2023, highlighting “China’s Perspective on Indo-Pacific Security” (register now).
In essence, the Security Nexus | Webinar provided a comprehensive exploration of the intricate connections between environmental disruptions and security challenges, emphasizing the urgency for collective cooperation, innovation, and dedication to secure a more resilient and sustainable future.
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