December 13, 2023

Global Imperatives: Commitments and Actions in Mitigating Loss and Damage of Climate Conflicts

By Zhuoran Wen

The Center for Global Affairs’ Adjunct Professor Michael Shank, PhD, delves into COP 28, climate conflicts and the Middle East, and presidential leadership in an interview with CGTN America and two written pieces. Through the multi-level analysis, he highlights that addressing the climate issues require not only financial commitments but also a collective and responsible approach from all nations.

The interconnectedness of climate conflicts and global instabilities has been illustrated through environmental devastation resulting from wars, particularly in the Middle East. Droughts, heat waves, water scarcity, and insecurity all contribute to conflicts internationally. Shank addresses how transitioning to renewables and phasing out fossil fuels is deemed crucial to mitigate these conflicts and environmental damage. There is a need for both formal multilateral agreements like the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, and voluntary agreements, especially considering the urgency to shift demand towards renewables, which are cost-effective and make the transition feasible.

Shank points out that even though the implementation of the loss and damage fund shows a positive step forward, additional funding is urgently required, particularly in light of projected damages reaching six billion by 2030 and one to two trillion by 2050. It highlights the pressing need for financial commitments comparable to those typically associated with war funding,

Focusing on solutions rather than finger-pointing is key. In his work, Shank addresses why countries, especially those with considerable economic resources like the United States, are not contributing more substantially. This inquiry reflects the broader issue of accountability and responsibility of affluent nations on global conflicts. 

Access the complete CGTN interview here, and read the full articles on The Hill and Newsweek.

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