Climate Change as a Security Risk

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Routledge, 2009 - Political Science - 248 pages
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Without resolute counteraction, climate change will overstretch many societies' adaptive capacities within the coming decades. This could result in destabilization and violence, jeopardizing national and international security to a new degree. However, climate change could also unite the international community. This is provided that we recognize climate change as a threat to humankind and so set the course for adopting a dynamic and globally coordinated climate policy. If we fail to do so, climate change will draw ever-deeper lines of division and conflict in international relations, triggering numerous conflicts between and within countries over the distribution of resources - especially water and land, and over the management of migration, or over compensation payments between the countries mainly responsible for climate change and those countries most affected by its destructive effects.

With Climate Change as a Security Risk, WBGU has compiled a flagship report on an issue that quite rightly is rising rapidly up the international political agenda. The authors pull no punches on the likelihood of increasing tensions and conflicts in a climatically constrained world and spotlight places where possible conflicts may flare up in the 21st century unless climate change is checked. The report makes it clear that climate policy is preventative security policy.


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Summary for Policymakers
1 Introduction
2 Environmental change in security discourse
3 Known conflict impacts of environmental change
4 Rising conflict risks due to state fragility and a changing world order
5 Impacts of climate change on the biosphere and human society
6 Conflict constellations
Selected regions
8 Climate change as a driver of social destabilization and threat to international security
9 Research recommendations
10 Recommendations for action
11 References
12 Glossary
13 Index

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About the author (2009)

Authors include Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (head of the Potsdam Institute on Climate Change and advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel), Margareta Kulesa, Renate Schubert, Stefan Rahmstorf (all contributing authors to the IPCC) and other leading experts.

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