March 02, 2018, 12:15 PM - 01:45 PM

12:15 PM

LBJ School of Public Affairs, SRH 3.122

Climate Change in South Asia: Living in the Age of Adaptation
March 02, 2018, 12:15 PM - 01:45 PM
Climate Change in South Asia: Living in the Age of Adaptation

On Friday, March 2, 2018, the Robert Strauss Center welcomed Adil Najam, inaugural Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, for a talk on climate change in South Asia. The event was part of the Strauss Center's Brumley Speaker Series, and free and open to the public.

Photos of the event are availale here

Dr. Najam told a story of climate change defined by a planetary society faced within overwhelming poverty, divisions, insecurity, degradation and poor governance. In other words, we collectively live on a “Third World” planet that desperately needs to adapt to new challenges.

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Looking back at international response to climate change, Dr. Najam noted extensive failures. Specifically, the global community failed to sufficiently recognize the problem, successfully negotiate on a multilateral level, or manage the moral and ethical issues of climate change vulnerability. Overall, there has also been a failure of political actors with recent momentum on climate change response ceded to market forces and the commercial sector.

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For South Asia specifically, the “Age of Adaptation” is an immediate front-line issue of security. For decades, climate change goals have focused on mitigation – wherein changes in human society would reduce the causal mechanisms of global climate change and ultimately mitigate the overall affects.

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However, while some mitigation efforts can and should continue, Dr. Najam emphasized the necessity that the global community now faces in terms of adapting to inevitable climate change effects. In South Asia, there exist significant challenges regarding the intersection of nature’s own adaptation (including expanding disease vectors) as well as sustainable development for water, food, mobility and infrastructure. While typical security questions in the region have not focused on climate change, this will increasingly be necessary both for domestic security forces and any interested external parties.

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Dr. Najam concluded his talk answering questions on country-specific vulnerability, the opportunity of developing countries to “leap-frog” infrastructural stages, and the impact of the Paris climate accord.

Dr. Najam is a Professor of International Relations and of Earth and Environment. Earlier, he served as Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan and as the Director of the Boston University Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. In addition to Boston University, Dr. Najam has taught at MIT and at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. His research focuses on issues of global public policy, especially those related to global climate change, South Asia, Muslim countries, environment and development, and human development.