Reporting from the Edinburgh Latin American Forum 2019

By Jonathan Ambrogi, on behalf of the Latin American Forum, sponsored by the GJA-GJA Innovative Initiative Fund.

The Principal giving the opening speech

On 4-5 February 2019, the 8th edition of the  Edinburgh Latin American Forum took place at the Informatics Forum and the Business School in Central Edinburgh. The event kicked-off at 10am with an opening speech of the University’s Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson, expressing his wish to keep strengthening the University’s ties with Latin America, which is one of the aims of the forum.The first session covered Water Security and featured an interesting speech by Dr. Castro arguing for a stronger role of the state in addressing hazards created by water scarcity. Representatives from Coventry University took a more scientific approach in explaining sustainable drainage in Brazilian slums. The Honduran Ambassador to the UK and Head of the Latin American Diplomatic Corp reassured the audience of the role his government was playing in reducing poverty and water scarcity for Honduras’ most vulnerable groups.

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Climate Change: Moving Beyond the Smoke Screen

GB Profile pictureIn this guest post, Geoffrey Buckley, Professor of Geography and Undergraduate Chair at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, reports on a recent departmental seminar on climate change, and the important issues that it raised for research and policy-making.

Dr. Judith Curry, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, visited Ohio University in Athens, Ohio recently to discuss, in her words, the “state of the climate debate.” She was a guest of the George Washington Forum, a group that, according to its website, endeavours to bring “civic education and intellectual diversity” to campus. Curry, an outspoken critic of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), confirmed her reputation as a “climate heretic” early on in her presentation, stating: “It’s a name I’m proud to bear. I’m not telling anybody what to do; it’s the honest broker role.” Unfortunately, it’s a role that does not suit her.

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Is Climate Change Causing Conflict in Iraq-Syria?

Nicaylen RayasaThis guest post is by Nicaylen Rayasa. Nicaylen is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology and Environmental Studies at Ohio University. Along with fellow GJA-blogger, Janice Brewer, Nicaylen took the ‘Place-Making and Making-Places’ summer school module at the University of Edinburgh during July 2014 – you can read more about the group and their investigations of Global Justice here. In this post, Nicaylen considered the rise of Islamic State and how this intersects with climate change.

This past winter in the Fertile Crescent was particularly harsh for farmers, in what is usually the wettest part of the year. It ended up to be the hottest and driest winter on record.

While prolonged droughts and record heat have been commonplace for many parts of the world, the Iraq-Syria region brings an interesting political dynamic to the climate regime.The region’s climate is  based historically on dry summers and rainy winters. However, climate change and the uptick in temperatures has transformed land use and increased desertification during extended droughts. Extreme versions of hot, dry summers have been more prevalent.

The Iraq-Syria conflict in the Middle East has been a growing regional issue for years now. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the Sunni Jihadist organisation responsible for the newfound violence in the region, arose earlier this year. Their emergence coincidently occurred during the hottest March-May period on record in Iraq.

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