Last year, the U.S. government released a National Intelligence Estimate focused on explaining the risks climate change poses to America’s security over the next few decades. The report examined geopolitical tensions that are emerging over how countries partner to address climate change, how countries and communities can adapt to climate change and the ramifications of climate change on access to natural resources. USIP’s Tegan Blaine discusses the report and the relationship between climate, conflict and political instability.
USIP Explains: How Climate Change Impacts U.S. Security
Peace, Poaching and Pangolins in Central Africa
The pangolin — also known as the scaly anteater — is a small, primarily nocturnal mammal that lives in parts of Africa and Asia. Reportedly the most trafficked animal in the world, the pangolin is desired for its scales and its meat, particularly in Southeast Asia. Data shows that a pangolin is poached every three to five minutes. But the demise of the poor pangolin, as well as other trafficked species, has implications beyond the obvious risks to biodiversity. As new research shows, the proceeds of wildlife trafficking also contribute to violent conflict in Central Africa. Researcher Alexia Tata discusses the findings of her research on this issue and its implications for peace and security in the region.
Armed Force Isn’t Saving Colombia’s Forests, But a New Effort Might
In six years since Colombia signed a peace agreement with its largest rebel movement, farmers, miners, loggers and armed groups have surged into the nation’s forests, felling trees and accelerating deforestation and its ills: a destabilized global climate and destruction of biodiversity and local communities’ habitats. As Colombia struggles to establish effective governance, the state is trying to shift away from previous reliance on military force to curb deforestation, a strategy that bred mistrust and violent conflict with local communities. Now a Colombian university is developing more effective forest-protection techniques to build sustainable solutions with those communities — an approach that can be shared globally.
To Secure Shared Environments, We Must Protect Indigenous Peacebuilders
Humanity observes our 53rd annual Earth Day this week while worsening our assault on our planetary home. Arguably our most critical protectors against this self-harm are Indigenous people who, only about 6 percent of us, protect 80 percent of Earth’s biodiversity. Yet powerful elites, armed groups and business interests attack and kill politically marginalized Indigenous environmentalists to continue clawing wealth out of ecosystems from the Amazon and Congo basins to the Himalayas. Any real hope of reversing our environmental degradation will require U.S. and international policymakers to strengthen protections for Indigenous environmentalists.
Where Cryptocurrency, Water and Conflict Collide
The booms and busts of the cryptocurrency industry are all over the news. But while the crypto market’s steep decline is a concern for crypto investors, the energy needed to mine cryptocurrency should be what catches the attention of policymakers. As of August 2022, total global electricity usage for crypto assets is estimated to be between 120 and 240 billion kilowatt-hours per year — more than the total used by entire countries such as Australia or Argentina. Amid the global energy crisis and efforts to stem the effects of climate change, the sheer scale of crypto’s electricity usage raises major questions regarding its sustainability.