Even Osama bin Laden, an inspiration for terrorist groups, turned global warming into propaganda. Young people are especially vulnerable to eco-anxiety, as most of the burden for fixing climate change will fall on them. 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. WASHINGTON: Disruptions like political violence and sectarian strife in fragile states empower terrorist groups, and the same is true of climate change. Around the world, environmental stress due to unpredictable weather catalyzes political violence, further undermining weak governments. 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. The causes of—and remedies for—these two kinds of disasters are seen as separate and distinct. 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. 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. 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. At the same time, not teaching climate change is doing our students a disservice. Paris Attack: Why Climate Change and Terrorism Are Connected | … 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. 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. The US Intelligence Community already studies climate change as a threat to national security. 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. Second, governments and utilities must fund investments in smaller scale, distributed infrastructure systems. 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. As climate and weather patterns shift, the resulting environmental crisis is being leveraged as a tool for terror and political violence. 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 real solution is to deal with the conditions that make pyroterrorism a threat. © Copyright 2007-2020. For its part, the news media must emphasize terrorist groups’ contributions to environmental degradation instead of equating them with the environmental movement. And Somalia must contend with Al Shabaab devastating forests and burning charcoal to fund their violent wars. New sustainable water technologies are emerging that integrate decentralized systems with traditional, centralized conveyance and treatment networks. Policymakers and emergency managers tend to build a conceptual wall between natural hazards and terrorism. Climate trauma: The invisible cost of climate change | News | Eco … Terrorism and environment: Osama bin Laden, the environmentalist? In total, 41% respondents selected climate change, followed by pollution (36%) and terrorism (31%). For Decades, the GOP Has Fought Against Climate Action. 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. 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. Water shortages due to shifting weather patterns increase vulnerability to these methods with significant consequences for people, infrastructure, and the economy. Severe drought as a result of climatic weather shifts raises vulnerability of water systems as reservoirs continue to dry up. Climate change could exacerbate these factors in multiple ways. Scott Somers is Professor of Practice in Emergency Management at Arizona State University. 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. Relations with current President Donald Trump have often been frosty; Merkel stands for a multilateral approach to global affairs and is firmly behind efforts to combat 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. Centralized utilities with large, complex distribution systems are more vulnerable to targeted disruptions with consequences of failure spread across a larger population. Terrorists take advantage of disruptions in fragile states – and these include water and food shortages associated with climate change. Environmental degradation has become a matter of global security. Ecosystems can serve as natural buffers from extreme events such as wildfires, flooding, and drought. The eco-terrorists seem likely to end up as footnotes in a larger and darker history of climate calamity. In Afghanistan, the Islamic State and the Taliban often profit from illegal logging. Finally, we must restore and rebalance ecosystems to mitigate the terrorism threat. Nature Iraq, the Somali Green Party and other environmental organizations in fragile states are already spearheading the fight against climate change in war zones, and their leaders – actual environmentalists – have special standing to criticize ISIS and Al Qaeda’s exploitation of the natural environment. But a holistic approach offers opportunities to address both problems at once. 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. Environmentalists have accused corporations ranging from ExxonMobil [6] and General Electric to McDonalds [7] [8] of eco-terrorism. Climate change and human modification may restrict ecosystems’ ability to temper the impacts of extreme conditions, and thus may increase vulnerability to damage. In contrast to other methods employed by extremists, environmental tactics, such as contaminating water supplies or starting fires, can be quickly planned, require little technical expertise to execute, and are harder to detect. Environmental Change and Security Program. 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. – 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. Extremist groups, including Al Qaeda, have expressed interest in contaminating drinking water in the United States. 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 exposure of U.S. communities to wildfire makes wildfire a potentially potent weapon for economic warfare and mass destruction. Planned Chaos Part 6 - Arson & Eco Terrorism - Prepare For Change Current policies to protect critical infrastructure and key resources focus on hardening and monitoring. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. 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 is transforming the way we think about security. Bernie Sanders similarly linked climate change and the growth of terrorism at the Democratic debate, just a day after the Paris attacks. Eco-terrorism is often defined as the use of violence carried out to further environmental policy change. One military officer wrote in his 2005 thesis: “An opportunistic terrorist can unleash multiple fires creating a conflagration potentially equal to a multi-megaton nuclear weapon.” Wildfires can have a profoundly negative effect on a region’s economy: the damage from California’s 2018 conflagrations is estimated at $400 billion. 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. And wildfires  pose a threat to critical infrastructure, especially the electric grid, creating widespread outages and cascading effects. El Paso Terrorism Suspect’s Alleged Manifesto Highlights Eco … The report, commissioned by the German Department for Foreign Affairs, looked at four case studies … 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. In reality, the groups finance terrorist activities with illegal logging, oil operations, poaching and other acts of environmental degradation. “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. 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. 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. Climate Change Expands the Terrorist Threat. The militants’ rapid conquest of Iraq’s drought-stricken regions demonstrated the effectiveness of their tactics. 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. His disciples in Africa and Asia, however, have transformed environmental issues from mere talking points into startling opportunities for increasing brand awareness and recruitment. 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. 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. ‘Eco … We can’t afford cabs, either, which have gotten much pricier these last few weeks. Climate Change Fiction Is Rethinking The Ecoterrorist We don't need to be on board with the extreme actions of characters in First Reformed … This report is hardly the first to note the connection between Around the world, environmental stress due to unpredictable weather catalyzes political violence, further undermining weak governments. 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 Austin Bodetti studies the intersection of Islam, culture and politics in Africa and Asia. 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 ( … Climate Change, Terrorism Top List of Challenges Facing US Military The crew of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) … 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. The Adelphi report cites several examples where the impacts of climate change are already spurring or exacerbating terrorism. As development banks invest in natural resource management and water conservation in particular, governments in the Global South can dedicate more capital to curbing droughts and other environmental issues that enable terrorist groups to promote their causes and recruit followers. 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. 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. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in the long term, Foresters and fire protection experts are increasingly realizing that a century of aggressive federal fire suppression policy has led to uncharacteristically dense forests. Militants from Indonesia to Mali stand to gain from climate change if this trend persists. Duterte tells UN: Fight climate change with the same urgency as … CLIMATE change warriors were mocked by viewers on This Morning after claiming they suffer from “eco-anxiety”. 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. The idea that terrorism and climate change are somehow connected is a seductive one. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Energy and the Military: Leading by Example, ReliefWeb: Building Climate Resilience for Food Security. 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. While the United Nations has funded solar-powered pumps to combat water scarcity in Yemen, the international community must go further. But, in the era of climate change, the wall between the two is crumbling. In reality, the terrorist groups that claim to lament environmental degradation instead aggravate it in the name of financing sectarian violence. 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. Copyright © 2020 Yale University • All rights reserved • Privacy policy, Terrorists take advantage of disruptions in fragile states – and these include water and food shortages associated with climate change. 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. It includes social concerns, as illustrated by the Skirball Fire, … Decentralizing is important in the water sector as well. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. The rise of non-state armed groups and terrorism poses new challenges for national, regional and international security. 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. 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 .” “While developing countries produce few greenhouse gases, they have the most to lose to the greenhouse effect, and militants are highlighting this disparity.” Osama bin Laden, organizer of the 9/11 attacks who was killed in 2011, relied on environmental issues in his propaganda. 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