On Tuesday, December 17, 2013, the American Security Project hosted an event titled “Climate Security Vulnerability in Africa: Strategic Implications for the United States” with Dr. Joshua Busby, an Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, as the featured speaker. Busby is a lead researcher for the Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) Program. CCAPS is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative, a social science research program focused on areas of strategic importance to national security policy.
Africa’s strategic value to the United States is rising. Geopolitics, vast amounts of raw minerals, economic growth, and untapped energy resources are placing the continent on the international stage – and for the United States.
In Dr. Busby’s presentation, he discussed how climate change is affecting security in Africa, using layered maps that CCAPS researchers have developed. With fragile states being overburdened with threats to their climates, the destabilization of governments and region occur. Busby’s presentation focused on how those impacts could affect the strategic outlook for the U.S. in Africa.
CCAPS research takes into account a variety of factors: population density, governance, locations of raw materials, climate vulnerability, and others to layer them into a Composite Vulnerability map of Africa. This information provides a better understanding as to why certain countries are more stable than others and in doing so, gives the United States a better idea of which areas to focus on.
Busby was very clear that there is an important link between climate effects and security in Africa, but he also was clear that we shouldn’t overstate the relationship. Simply put: it is complicated.
You can listen to the event and see the powerpoint presentation below.