The impact of climate change is already adversely shaping security in the Levant, the region comprising Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Analysts of the 2011 political upheavals have concluded that the popular unrest, the political reaction to which caused disastrous effects, was, amongst other causes, triggered by climate-driven effects that displaced rural populations.
To further explore this issue in the current environmental and political climate, the Center for Climate and Security, the International Military Council on Climate Security Expert Group, and adelphi have released a new scenarios-based report on the Levant, Adaptive Technologies for Regional Climate-Related Security Risks, as part of the Weathering Risk project.
This scenario-based analysis explores four possible future climate security scenarios for the Levant, in order to anticipate future risks and identify priority policy areas. It looks particularly at how different degrees of technological availability and international cooperation could lead to different outcomes in the region.
To better anticipate and respond to future risks, the report’s authors convened regional experts using a scenario analysis method. The experts identified the most important and most uncertain or difficult to predict drivers of climate security risks in the Levant. From those, two were selected: technological availability and international cooperation. The interaction between these drivers at their extremes produces four future scenarios for the region based on the expected physical climate change effects.
The process of developing and analyzing these four scenarios highlighted the importance of state policy, governance, and cooperation as variables shaping states’ capacity to cope with climate change. However, the report notes a lack of political will.
The report cites the Jordan-Israel-UAE water-for-solar power deal as an example of cooperative regional climate adaptation efforts but highlights the limitations as well. The Palestinians were excluded, while Syria and Lebanon show no desire and little capacity for similar deals.
While the research did not identify significant new entry points for addressing regional governance or cooperation deficits, it did reveal that even in states with poor or absent governance and low levels of cooperation, societies may find ways of coping with adverse climate impacts if the means to adapt are readily available.
The report’s scenarios suggest that making small-scale adaptive technologies widely available may offer a path to increasing climate resilience in societies suffering from low cooperation and poor or even predatory governance.