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In 2010, flooding of the Indus River forced 20 million Pakistanis to leave their homes. In Somalia, a drought-induced famine killed around 260,000 people in 2011 alone. In early 2018, South Africa’s Cape Town was on the verge of running out of water. For Joshua Busby – an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin – these climate change-related events are only the beginning of what is to come if the world fails to keep global warming in check. getAbstract recommends Busby’s Foreign Affairs commentary to anyone interested in global affairs.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How climate change will affect global geopolitics and
  • How the international community can avert catastrophic climate change. 

About the Author

Joshua Busby is an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.



Climate change will come to define the geopolitics of the 21st century. Rising sea levels, powerful storms, large-scale flooding and droughts will take a huge toll on countries’ resources and displace millions of people in the coming decades. Countries like the United States and China will have to spend an increasing proportion of their military and economic resources on rescue operations and infrastructure rebuilding due to extreme weather events – which will leave them less prepared to fend off foreign threats. For poorer countries, climate change will pose existential threats. Flooding and sea-level rise will render low-lying coastal cities and island states uninhabitable. Increasing temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, meanwhile, are exacerbating the impact of droughts in already impoverished and conflict-ridden areas, such as in sub-Saharan Africa.

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