Friday, April 16, 2010

Review of Global Warring on New Security Beat

Rachel Posner of CSIS reviews Global Warring for New Security Beat, and seems to like it :) , writing in part:

Paskal eloquently explains the science behind climate change in layman’s terms, breaking down incredibly complex issues and drawing connections across seemingly disparate challenges, such as rising food prices, degrading energy infrastructure, and growing water scarcity. She is a skilled storyteller, using memorable vignettes (and at times even humor) to effectively illustrate these climate-related complexities.

But what truly sets Paskal’s book apart from a number of recent works on this topic is her ability to elucidate the major power shifts that are directly related to today’s climate and resource stresses. “Environmental change is the wild card in the current high-stakes game of geopolitics,” she writes (p. 249).

To read more, click here.

Article: Strange case of the disappearing islands (New Zealand Herald)

Cleo Paskal wrote a feature for the New Zealand Herald on some of the potential legal and geopolitical implications of islands disappearing because of subsidence/rising sea levels/etc., something that is already being seen and will become a critical problem in Pacific. 

The general idea is to try to ensure that, when possible, those who have to be relocated are seen as a benefit to the host country, not a liability. In some cases, this might be able to be done by using the value  of national sovereignty to "pay" for relocation. 

An excerpt from the feature:

In that model, neighbouring India, for example, would take in the Maldivian immigrants in exchange for India being able to extend its national waters to include Maldivian waters.
The proceeds from this extended EEZ (fisheries rights, seabed mining, etc) could be used to resettle and set up a trust fund for Maldivian immigrants, along the lines of land claim settlements in Canada. Maldivians could also get preferential access to the waters for economic development and, should the islands ever re-emerge, resettlement could be possible. The advantage for India would be an orderly settlement of relatively wealthy immigrants, and an extension of its coastal security zone.
This model might also be applicable in the Pacific. For example, if as the scientists tell us, Tuvalu will eventually need to be evacuated, and New Zealand takes in the bulk of the refugees, that patch of ocean could be administered from New Zealand by and for the benefit of the immigrants, affording resettlement money and economic prospects associated with their old homeland for those who want it.
The administration could be done through a sort of combination government-in-exile and trust.
It is worth noting that the host country need not be New Zealand or Australia. Given the geostrategic importance of the region, a "bidding war" for the immigrants might ensue with countries such as China and Taiwan looking to take in the immigrants in exchange for increased access to the region.
While this might seem far-fetched, what are the alternatives? If accepting the reality that some countries might need to be completely evacuated, a way forward of some sort will need to be found if a free-for-all is to be avoided. If left to the crisis point, it could end up in completely new and potentially undesirable forms of sovereignty.
For example, while the rest of Tuvalu is evacuated, one of the islands could be built up. That would probably qualify it as an "artificial island", affording it only a 500m safety zone, not the 200 nautical mile EEZ, but it would be enough to ensure statehood. That statehood could then be sold off to corporations who could then literally become sovereign, writing laws under which they flag ships, bank, run telecoms, sell arms, etc, with the impunity and immunity of statehood. This could have far-reaching security implications.
To read more, click here.

Global Warring in New Zealand

Cleo Paskal was just in New Zealand, where she she gave a talk at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (Auckland). Coincidentally, one of the main New Zealand climate change blogs, Hot Topic, ran a comprehensive review of her book at about the same time writing in part:

 "Paskal’s book is spirited and interesting. Her background in journalism probably contributes to the light touch with which she conveys some potentially heavy geopolitical material." (for more, click here.)

Hot Topic also covered her New Zealand Herald feature on the disappearance of islands and the potential EEZ implications (you can see the Hot Topic post here). As these things go in the blogosphere, all this coverage seemed to raise the ire of some at who thought this was all about what they consider to be the fallacy of anthropogenic climate change. A discussion ensued.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Review of Global Warring in the Palestine Chronicle

Jim Miles has reviewed Global Warring for the Palestine Chronicle. An excerpt:

A new text by Cleo Paskal highlights the intersection of these environmental, economic and political crises and how they will redraw the world map. Her writing is not of the apocalyptic nature, not describing the horrors of a post-nuclear holocaust period nor the horrors of the survivalists imagination when the economy and the environment tank together and suddenly we need to become self reliant in a much more primitive sense.
Instead, it is a strong academic analysis of the current geopolitical/environmental interactions that could possibly - in spite of the denials above - spell ‘doom’. Her information is concise and wisely presented, without exaggeration or resorting to hyperbolic disasters.

For more, click here.

Video of Cleo Paskal at the Commonwealth Club of California talking Arctic security

The Arctic security portion of the discussion Cleo had at the Commonwealth Club of California with Amy Standen from KQED FM.