The first case study investigates climate impacts on the longstanding India-China rivalry: both countries are major nuclear weapons powers and are highly vulnerable to climate change.
The study found that climate change, driven by extreme warming, will enhance material as well as perceptual risks between the rivals by 2040. In particular, warming will increase the likelihood of glacial lake outburst floods and landslides, threatening troops in the Western Border Region, and will increase the likelihood of flooding in India’s Brahmaputra River Basin.
The Arctic is set to experience intense change in the coming decades along two converging trendlines.
First, the region will face major environmental shifts that accompany our current warming trajectory, including sea ice loss and permafrost thaw. Second, the Arctic will continue to see an influx of new human activity (including resource extraction), the development and use of new shipping lanes, and commercial and military traffic. These trends take place across a region witnessing increasing defense force activities by many Arctic nations.
In North Korea, climate extremes like heat, drought, and flooding will constrain the nation’s already precarious ability to provide public goods for its population, compounding persistent security concerns.
In addition to threatening city infrastructure and nuclear facility safety, climate change will make crop failures (particularly rice) more likely in the growing region along the Western coastline, impacting local livelihoods and jeopardizing national food security.
In Iran, climate impacts, resource mismanagement, and international isolation are coming to a head—fueling repression internally and generating tensions with Türkiye, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Gulf States. Decades of corruption and nationalism have led the Iranian government to prioritize food self-sufficiency, entrenching a reliance on water-intensive agriculture.
High water demand and a diminishing water supply will further jeopardize Iran’s food and water security. Reductions in country-wide average wheat yields of up to 10% by 2040 will increase the potential for political instability, repression, and militancy, particularly in rural and ethnic minority communities.
Türkiye sits in a geographic hot spot where extreme weather and natural disasters are already intersecting with unsustainable development, geopolitical tensions, and both geologic and domestic fault lines—with climate change projected to exacerbate these challenges.
Our analysis highlights widespread wildfire risk and diminishing water resources, including rainfall and streamflow, threatening major hydropower projects like the Southern Anatolia Project. These climate impacts will amplify domestic political grievances, exacerbate ethnic tensions, and fuel disputes with downstream countries over the shared Tigris and Euphrates rivers.