Climate and Security
This week we embark on the third and final installment of our first ever Editorial Plan. Since November 2011, we have relied on a variety of podcasts, partner-provided analyses, specially commissioned articles and mixed-media presentations to answer two fundamental questions – 1) is the structure of the international system undergoing comprehensive and irreversible change? (Our answer was “yes.”) And 2) what impact is this change having on our attitudes towards power and how we use it? (Our response to this question was that the diffusion, democratization and individualizing of power is now occurring on a global scale.) Having answered these two questions, over the next 14 weeks we will focus our attention on a third and final question – Given the wide-ranging structural changes and shifting power dynamics that are occurring throughout the globe, how should we perceive or interpret a collection of security-related issues that are familiar to most of us?
To kick-start our various responses to this last question, we will dedicate this week to analyzing the interconnections between climate change and security. According to analysts from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and too many other organizations to mention, shifting weather patterns are destroying fragile ecosystems, causing rising sea levels, threatening food production and spreading pests and infectious diseases. These problems, argue academics, defense and security professionals and policymakers, then pose additional problems for regional and global security. But wait a minute, say critics. Is it both necessary and appropriate to treat climate change as a growing security problem?
Well, in order to better understand why climate change is being increasingly securitized we begin our week-long coverage by outlining the economic and political factors that shape both sides of the climate change debate. We then follow this overview with a discussion of the securitization of global warming proper. On Wednesday, we then assess previous attempts to introduce workable transnational climate policies, before considering who should assume responsibility for crafting them in a security-conscious world. We then end the week with two case studies that outline the challenges posed by the securitization of climate change on the policies and strategic calculations of Sub-Sahara African states and the world’s largest security actor, the United States
06 Aug 2012 / Special Feature
Despite numerous United Nations-led initiatives and national-level pronouncements, the climate change debate rumbles on. In conjunction with our partners at the Council on Foreign Relations, today we present an overview of the historical and political origins of this particular debate. More on «Ideologies behind “Climate Wars”»
07 Aug 2012 / Special Feature
Climate change is increasingly understood as a significant threat to national and global security. But while the securitization of climate change may have raised hopes of finding a more effective response, it has also generated concerns that environmental problems are becoming increasingly militarized, argues Rafaela Rodrigues de Brito. More on «Securitizing Climate Change: Expectations and Concerns»
08 Aug 2012 / Special Feature
Attempts at global climate governance have failed to deliver desired results, or so argues Jason Blackstock in today’s video presentation. He outlines the lessons learned from failed climate negotiation in the past and identifies possible ways forward in the future. More on «Transnational Climate Policy - Who's Responsible, What’s Doable in a Security-Conscious world?»
09 Aug 2012 / Special Feature
Climate change has the potential to threaten the security of many African states and societies. Our partners at the ISS outline how deteriorating environmental conditions contribute to migratory flows that, in turn, cause political tensions and instability in host countries. More on «Climate Change as a Security Threat – Sub-Saharan Africa»
10 Aug 2012 / Audio
The United States’ security establishment continues to formulate responses to the problems associated with global climate change. However, in today’s podcast Geoffrey D Dabelko argues that policymakers have overlooked the impact that global warming is having on the US’s own territory. More on «Inside US Climate Security Policy»