And Somalia must contend with Al Shabaab devastating forests and burning charcoal to fund their violent wars. Such conditions generate more intense conflagrations, prevent more water from reaching underground aquifers, and reduce the health of the forests. This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. But, in the era of climate change, the wall between the two is crumbling. As far as the black markets of Southeast Asia, affiliates of Al Qaeda traffic in rhino horns and tiger pelts, mimicking Al Shabaab’s foray into the illegal ivory trade. Though the debate over how to find a solution to climate change remains divisive in much of the Middle East and the West, every country appreciates the need to defeat ISIS and Al Qaeda. A report by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness identified 26 specific threats of water contamination in the United States between 1968 and 2008. During his many years in hiding, the figurehead lent rhetorical support to the environmental movement, and the true extent of his dedication to environmentalism remains subject to debate. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. For Decades, the GOP Has Fought Against Climate Action. If the Iraqi government can ensure that farmers have access to irrigation and the Yemeni government can supply water to rural areas, ISIS and AQAP are less attractive replacements. Rather, there is a growing potential for vulnerable ecosystems to be exploited or destroyed as a means to intimidate or provoke a state of terror in the general public for a political, ideological, or philosophical agenda. As the climate is changing, so too are the conditions in which these groups operate. The US Intelligence Community already studies climate change as a threat to national security. Civil society should muster its own response to terrorist groups’ attempts to hijack the environmental movement. Militants from Indonesia to Mali stand to gain from climate change if this trend persists. As climate and weather patterns shift, the resulting environmental crisis is being leveraged as a tool for terror and political violence. – YaleGlobal, Terrorist groups feign leadership on climate change, hijacking environmental narratives to challenge fragile governments in the Middle East and Africa, © 2019 YaleGlobal and the MacMillan Center. In Afghanistan, the Islamic State and the Taliban often profit from illegal logging. Once fragile states have comprehensive environmental policies as well as the military capacity to safeguard the natural environment, terrorist groups will find fewer chances to take advantage of global warming. Planned Chaos Part 6 - Arson & Eco Terrorism - Prepare For Change The Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, used wildfire as a part of its military strategy,  as well as an economic and psychological attack, during its 2006 conflict with Israel. The eco-terrorists seem likely to end up as footnotes in a larger and darker history of climate calamity. And despite being mocked by conservative media and Democratic operatives alike, Sanders held fast to his assertion that climate change is the greatest threat to national security and is “directly related to the growth of terrorism .” Terrorists take advantage of disruptions in fragile states – and these include water and food shortages associated with climate change. Climate change and human modification may restrict ecosystems’ ability to temper the impacts of extreme conditions, and thus may increase vulnerability to damage. The rise of non-state armed groups and terrorism poses new challenges for national, regional and international security. Courtesy of Diariocritico de Venezuela/AFP. For their part, scientists have warned that climate change will significantly worsen living conditions in the Middle East and in North Africa” and “prolonged heat waves and desert dust storms can render some regions uninhabitable.” The greater the havoc wreaked by global warming in the region, the more opportunities terrorist groups find to coopt the environmental movement. Severe drought as a result of climatic weather shifts raises vulnerability of water systems as reservoirs continue to dry up. Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, The blog of the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program, Pop at COP: Population and Family Planning at the UN Climate Negotiations, U.S. Intelligence Community Recognizes Climate Change in Worldwide Threat Assessment, Anticipatory Intelligence: Climate Change in the National Intelligence Strategy, Water, Conflict, and Peacebuilding (Animated Short), Healthy People, Healthy Environment (Tanzania), New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Current policies to protect critical infrastructure and key resources focus on hardening and monitoring. For its part, the news media must emphasize terrorist groups’ contributions to environmental degradation instead of equating them with the environmental movement. His research has appeared in The Daily Beast, USA Today, Vox, and Wired. In a 2002 open letter outlining many grievances with the Western world, the founder of Al Qaeda lambasted the United States for declining to join the Kyoto Protocol and polluting the natural environment with “industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history.” He reiterated these criticisms in a videotape mailed to Al Jazeera in 2010, a year before his death. Sometimes you gotta risk your life to survive, Jack says, and shrugs.He means we need to keep taking the subway: hope for the best, take precautions. Water shortages due to shifting weather patterns increase vulnerability to these methods with significant consequences for people, infrastructure, and the economy. Fire as a tool of warfare is well documented. Elsewhere, ISIS’s shortsighted efforts to tap wells seized from the petroleum industry led to oil spills throughout Iraq, and Al Shabaab has burned once-lush Somali forests in its search for charcoal and wood to sell. Sources: Council on Foreign Relations, Homeland Security Today, National University System Institute for Policy Research, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, PRI, Sustainability, The New York Times, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wildfire Today. Climate change could exacerbate these factors in multiple ways. While the United Nations has funded solar-powered pumps to combat water scarcity in Yemen, the international community must go further. The report, commissioned by the German Department for Foreign Affairs, looked at four case studies … Foresters and fire protection experts are increasingly realizing that a century of aggressive federal fire suppression policy has led to uncharacteristically dense forests. Our new video, featuring Neil Morisetti and Bert Koenders, sheds light on ongoing discussions and latest research revolving around climate change, non-state armed groups and It includes social concerns, as illustrated by the Skirball Fire, … The underlying causes of climate change make us vulnerable, but the problem goes beyond environmental issues. “From Afghanistan and Iraq to Somalia and Yemen, terrorist groups are pushing false narratives that they, not cash-strapped central governments, are leading campaigns against deforestation, water scarcity, crop failures and other environmental issues ravaging local communities across Africa and Asia,” reports Austin Bodetti. Duterte tells UN: Fight climate change with the same urgency as … The idea that terrorism and climate change are somehow connected is a seductive one. Even Osama bin Laden, an inspiration for terrorist groups, turned global warming into propaganda. El Paso Terrorism Suspect’s Alleged Manifesto Highlights Eco … Climate change is helping terrorism and organized crime thrive in fragile states, boosting recruitment for groups like Boko Haram and ISIS, according to a new report. The Adelphi report cites several examples where the impacts of climate change are already spurring or exacerbating terrorism. Many analysts argue that global warming will fuel further conflict in the Middle East, where flashpoints such as the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula already deal with drought, water shortages and other environmental issues that will only worsen. Climate change mitigation and environmental protection measures are thus seen as structural preconditions to tackle the root causes of the Sahel’s insecurity and rising (jihadist) violence. Environmental degradation has become a matter of global security. Terrorism and environment: Osama bin Laden, the environmentalist? Austin Bodetti studies the intersection of Islam, culture and politics in Africa and Asia. CLIMATE change warriors were mocked by viewers on This Morning after claiming they suffer from “eco-anxiety”. WASHINGTON: Disruptions like political violence and sectarian strife in fragile states empower terrorist groups, and the same is true of climate change. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Energy and the Military: Leading by Example, ReliefWeb: Building Climate Resilience for Food Security. Climate trauma: The invisible cost of climate change | News | Eco … Distributed power systems, such as on-site photovoltaics or micro-grid generation, reduce the risk of widespread power failures as well as the cascading effects and economic damage that result. Drought also creates tinderbox conditions, increasing the potential for intentionally set fires near populated areas and critical infrastructure. The deadly American raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in 2011 uncovered yet another open letter in which the ideologue encouraged Americans to offer US President Barack Obama whatever assistance he needed to “save humanity” from global warming’s “catastrophic” consequences. Around the world, environmental stress due to unpredictable weather catalyzes political violence, further undermining weak governments. Ecosystems can serve as natural buffers from extreme events such as wildfires, flooding, and drought. While developing countries produce few greenhouse gases, they have the most to lose to the greenhouse effect, and militants are highlighting this disparity. Young people are especially vulnerable to eco-anxiety, as most of the burden for fixing climate change will fall on them. We can’t afford cabs, either, which have gotten much pricier these last few weeks. Because precarious central governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen lack the financial resources and political bandwidth to prepare for the worst effects of climate change, terrorist groups can pretend to adopt the mantle of environmentalism as they devastate the natural environment in regions outside the control of overstretched militaries. The real solution is to deal with the conditions that make pyroterrorism a threat. But, as the level of water in reservoirs continues to fall due to drought, this tactic becomes increasingly feasible. In 2012, an issue of the online magazine Inspire surfaced on jihadi Internet forums detailing how to construct an “ember bomb” to target forested areas of the United States. Climate change is transforming the way we think about security. From Afghanistan and Iraq to Somalia and Yemen, terrorist groups are pushing false narratives that they, not cash-strapped central governments, are leading campaigns against deforestation, water scarcity, crop failures and other environmental issues ravaging local communities across Africa and Asia. As part of its mission, the Department of Homeland Security should support efforts by the National Forest Service to develop, test, and demonstrate approaches to ecosystem restoration that are environmentally sound, economically sustainable, and socially acceptable. Most analysts suggest that, since water itself would dilute any toxin or pathogen, the quantity of material needed to sufficiently contaminate the supply makes such an attack technically difficult. Centralized utilities with large, complex distribution systems are more vulnerable to targeted disruptions with consequences of failure spread across a larger population. © Copyright 2007-2020. As global fresh water supplies become increasingly scarce, extremist groups are stepping up attacks and manipulating supply as a strategic tactic of coercion. Environmentalists have accused corporations ranging from ExxonMobil [6] and General Electric to McDonalds [7] [8] of eco-terrorism. Photo Credit: Rescuers and residents gather at the charred scene following a bomb blast connected to Boko Haram at Terminus market in the central Nigerian city of Jos on May 20, 2014. Around the world, environmental stress due to unpredictable weather catalyzes political violence, further undermining weak governments. This report is hardly the first to note the connection between If regional and world powers want to prevent terrorist groups from exploiting global warming, the international community must address environmental issues, lending direct and highly visible humanitarian aid to the fragile states that need it most. By integrating sustainable principles and practices into the national homeland security strategy, we can protect valuable natural resources and reduce the potential for the environment to be exploited as a tool of terror. Recognizing climate change as a large, global issue can cause eco-anxiety — the chronic fear of environmental doom — in people of all ages. And wildfires  pose a threat to critical infrastructure, especially the electric grid, creating widespread outages and cascading effects. In reality, the groups finance terrorist activities with illegal logging, oil operations, poaching and other acts of environmental degradation. Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki described the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, as an "eco-terrorist" for failing to abide by the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. And in the United States, the environmental crisis is a “threat multiplier” that could enable terrorism, overwhelm response capabilities, and threaten populations and critical infrastructure. First, we need to acknowledge the connection between the natural environment and vulnerability to terrorism by integrating sustainability principles and practices into the National Homeland Security Strategy. ISIS employed a multipronged strategy, offering recruits food and $400 a month while arguing that the Iraqi government cared little about the environmental issues devastating the heartland. Environmental Change and Security Program. How climate change is causing African jihadism and the migration … The emerging threat is not about eco-terrorism—a term used to describe acts of violence in support of ecological or environmental causes. Policymakers and emergency managers tend to build a conceptual wall between natural hazards and terrorism. Eco-terrorists are willing to inflict emotional and physical distress on their victims if they believe it will further their environmental goals. Climate Change Adaptation and Population Dynamics in Latin America and the Caribbean (Report), A Dangerous Dichotomy: Women’s Paid and Unpaid Work During COVID-19, U.S. v. China: The Global Battle for Hearts, Minds, and Resources. New sustainable water technologies are emerging that integrate decentralized systems with traditional, centralized conveyance and treatment networks. The exposure of U.S. communities to wildfire makes wildfire a potentially potent weapon for economic warfare and mass destruction. In reality, the terrorist groups that claim to lament environmental degradation instead aggravate it in the name of financing sectarian violence. Across the world, bin Laden’s fellow travelers extol the virtues of environmental protection online and in public while accelerating environmental degradation on the ground. The U.S. military recognizes that global competition for finite natural resources is a national security concern and has embraced sustainability as a vital strategic security element and mission enabler. ‘Eco … Scott Somers is Professor of Practice in Emergency Management at Arizona State University. Analysts suggest that Al Shabaab opted to ban plastic bags because plastic pollution was choking the livestock that it taxed, not because the Somali militants cared about the potential for an ecological crisis. Paris Attack: Why Climate Change and Terrorism Are Connected | … Unlike bin Laden, who might have felt sincere distress about climate change, the terrorist groups that looked to him for guidance demonstrate little real concern for the welfare of the natural environment, likely seeing environmental issues as just another opening to strengthen their cause. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, often described as the most dangerous offshoot of bin Laden’s terrorist group, reapplied ISIS’s approach to its sphere of influence in Yemen several years later. Water scarcity: As climate change depletes supplies of drinkable water in Africa and the Middle East, terrorists blame the West, posing as environmental leaders with holier-than-thou messaging (Map: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations), Outside the Middle East, militants have attempted to implement the beginnings of environmental policies. Climate Change, Terrorism Top List of Challenges Facing US Military The crew of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) … The Islamic State and its predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq, jumpstarted the trend after 2009 by wooing farmers who had lost their livelihoods to water scarcity. In total, 41% respondents selected climate change, followed by pollution (36%) and terrorism (31%). Rescuers and residents gather at the charred scene following a bomb blast connected to Boko Haram at Terminus market in the central Nigerian city of Jos on May 20, 2014. The Western intelligence agencies, diplomatic corps and militaries that have assisted the governments in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia with their wars on Al Qaeda, ISIS and their allies must account for environmental issues in their approach to counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. It could increase poverty (affecting food security and livelihoods) and inequalities (with scarce resources captured by elites, or grievances invoked by climate injustices), which could act as instigating causes for terrorist activity ( … At the same time, not teaching climate change is doing our students a disservice. The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and other Middle Eastern aid agencies and development finance institutions can break this pattern by bankrolling fragile states’ efforts to ready themselves for global warming and stop environmental degradation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and further afield. In addition, sustainability practices and ecosystem management must become part of a cohesive strategy for national infrastructure protection. Climate Change Fiction Is Rethinking The Ecoterrorist We don't need to be on board with the extreme actions of characters in First Reformed … Global warming also ranked highest among environmental issues, at 57%. Bernie Sanders similarly linked climate change and the growth of terrorism at the Democratic debate, just a day after the Paris attacks. All rights reserved. The causes of—and remedies for—these two kinds of disasters are seen as separate and distinct. CLIMATE CHANGE AND TERRORISM | This is a call for a journal special issue to bring together original studies to examine the links between climate change and terrorism. Eco-fascism featured in El Paso terrorism suspect’s alleged manifesto The racist rant calls for mass killings to make America more ‘sustainable.’ Other terrorists have done the same. Politico-economics of climate change eco-terrorism explained | … AQAP fixed water mains and wells in towns struggling with droughts as political violence undercut the ability of the Yemeni government to provide similar basic services to the few regions under its control. In a 2017 “special message,” the Taliban urged Afghans to “plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty God’s creations,” adding in interviews that the insurgents even supported the Afghan government’s attempts at reforestation. Biden will be the fourth U.S. president that Merkel — who has led Germany since 2005 — has dealt with as chancellor. Examples include reefs and barrier islands that protect coastal ecosystems from storm surges, wetland ecosystems that absorb floodwaters, and cyclical wildfires that clear excess forest debris and reduce the risk of dangerously lar… Climate Change Expands the Terrorist Threat. We’re no car owners, and with the market skyrocketing like it has, that’s not changing anytime soon. 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