Kevin Grove, ‘Insuring “Our Common Future”? ), Beyond Resource Wars: Scarcity, Environmental Degradation, and International Cooperation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011). Linked to the discussion of the potential environmental causes of conflict has been a debate about what kind of security policy is appropriate if global environmental change is taken seriously. The latter has made other threats appear more urgent and serious than the environmental ones. 52. While discussions of environmental security that started in the early 1990s never truly abated, 2007 marked the re-emergence of environmental security as a high-profile issue, made both more urgent and more complicated by renewed attention to global climate change.12 In part this new emphasis was because ongoing studies on climate change, summarised in the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, highlighted the seriousness of the issue.13 In addition, the receding emphasis on the War on Terror in Washington allowed other security agendas to come to the fore. Recommended articles lists articles that we recommend and is powered by our AI driven recommendation engine. 30. The emergence of global environmental problems, such as global warming and ozone depletion, resulted in one of the first attempts to securitize the environment on a global scale. Realists tend to consider environmental problems as belonging to the realm of ‘low’ politics rather than an issue of ‘high’ politics, such as security. Planning for the future must take into consideration an environment that is being changed by human activity, rather than one in which human society reacts to external disruptions to a given context. Concerns for climate change not only led to the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)7 to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects of human impact on climate change but also to the signing of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio in 1992 (United Nations 1992). ‘Environmental security’ also refers to environmentally induced conflicts and insecurity caused by social and political disruption related to resource shortages and degraded landscapes. In this way, as Lacy (2005) has outlined, realists tend to create a hierarchy of threats, distinguishing between threats that can be legitimately included in the security agenda and those that cannot.4. See Dalby (1998, 2002) and Barnett (2001). 39, No. Security is about survival, urgency and emergency. 7, June 2012). These results have been corroborated by the projects undertaken by Spillman and Bächler (Bächler et al 1996; Bächler 1999). The word security entails a specific logic or rationality, independent of the context or the intentions of the speakers. 32. By Dr. Marc Kodack. It implies new roles for security actors and different means to provide security. This process is part of broader re-articulation of the spaces in which a logic of security based on emergency and contingency is legitimated and those in which a logic of prevention and management prevails. Climate security is a concept that summons the idea that climate-related change amplifies existing risks in society that endangers the security of humans, ecosystems, economy, infrastructure and societies. 44. In the case of the environment this suggestion is problematic. Environmental security examines threats posed by environmental events and trends to individuals, communities or nations. Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Geologists now regularly discuss matters in terms of the Anthropocene – the new geological era caused by humanity's transformation of so many facets of natural processes – while the earth system is in transition to some new phase, the parameters of which are still unclear.20 These insights demonstrate that the environmental context for security is increasingly one of human manufacture; dealing with a given, permanent environmental backdrop for human affairs in the future is no longer a valid assumption for serious analyses of security. As a result various securitizations of environmental issues have brought about security practices largely inspired by the practices developed within the environmental sector to ensure safety, adaptation and resilience. The divide between those who oppose the use of the term environmental security by arguing that the logic of security is fixed and inflexible and those who support it by suggesting that the logic of security should be changed2 distracts attention away from the question of whether practices associated with providing security have been transformed by environmental security discourses. This article has explored how the practices associated with security are challenged by the attempts to transform environmental crises and climate change into a security issue, and has shown how appeals to security have emphasized the relevance of preventive, nonconfrontational measures and the importance of other actors than states in providing security. 2. We use cookies to improve your website experience. 39, No. Securitization is not about applying a fixed meaning of security as exceptionality that inscribes enemies in a context. The EU Commission is promoting a nonantagonistic approach that relies on liberalization and cooperation to promote a common energy policy and to secure energy supply and climate stability. Contemporary risks are unbounded and potentially catastrophic. This is an application of the ‘precaution through prevention’ approach to security and reflects Beck's argument on risk society (Beck 2006, 334). 1, 2013). The first explores why the environment has been excluded from security considerations. 486, No. The academic discussion was largely shaped by the work of Thomas Homer-Dixon and a series of well-funded research projects, which aimed to study the relationships between environmental degradation and violent conflicts (Homer-Dixon 1991, 1994). The same year an internal report of the US Department of Defense on the impact of ‘an abrupt climate change’ was leaked to the press. Rita Floyd, Security and the Environment: Securitization Theory and US Environmental Security Policy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Several factors have contributed to this new development: on one hand, there has been a growing consensus on the dimensions of the anthropogenic impact on climate; on the other hand, since the withdrawal of the US from the Kyoto protocol, there have been several ‘securitizing moves’ aimed at promoting action to counter climate change and its consequences, on both sides of the Atlantic. In the aftermath of the 2012 superstorm Sandy, condominium developers in New York suddenly began to pay attention to ways of making their buildings more resilient to future storms. (eds), Coping with Global Environmental Change, Disasters and Security: Threats, Challenges, Vulnerabilities and Risks (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2011). In this context, the growing awareness of the complexity and uncertainty of contemporary threats has suggested to some scholars and policy makers the use of the concept of risk to conceptualize contemporary security dynamics. Nick Mabey, Jay Gulledge, Bernard Finel and Katherine Silverthorne, Degrees of Risk: Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security (London: E3G, 2011). Climate change is also a threat to peace and security. The sheer scale of land-use changes, loss of biodiversity, decline in fish stocks, growing greenhouse gas concentrations, the re-routing of rivers, mining of numerous minerals, covering over of land by concrete and asphalt, and many other transformations have changed the planet's surface so drastically that humanity has in effect become a new force shaping the planet's basic physical systems.11 What matters now with regard to the long-term discussion of environmental security is not whether rural squabbles over supposedly scarce resources spill over into larger conflicts, but rather how these new circumstances emerging as a consequence of human activity impact upon both populations and states. While it is difficult to assign responsibility for any single event to general processes of climate change, a climate in which larger amounts of energy appear in the guise of warmer seas and more moisture in the atmosphere is likely to mean more frequent or more severe storms.28 Rising sea levels caused by the expansion of warming water and the melting of terrestrial ice caps will make coastal areas more vulnerable to storm surges, too. 3 An exception is Dalby (1998). Droughts may affect urban water supplies or, by reducing the flow in rivers, constrain electricity production (by reducing the power available both directly – decreasing hydro-electric production through dams and river generators – and indirectly – reducing the amount of cooling water available for use by thermal power stations). The EU commission, largely influenced by the NATO project, has promoted actions to include environmental considerations into its cooperation for development programmes. Nevertheless the intellectual space for a different understanding of security was only opened up by the end of the Cold War. Just as large numbers of nuclear weapons make the consequences of warfare so serious that mutual restraint becomes much more important in terms of security,54 now the transformation of the earth system also requires discussion of co-operative measures to keep the planet within the broad ecological parameters that gave rise to human civilisation. It is now also about metropolitan insecurities, and it is thus a matter for urban planners as well as rural development experts. A potentially nonessentialist approach like securitization, which focuses on the social process that specifies threats, can be relevant in studying how various environmental issues gain priority and mobilize social action. 109, No. Some Caribbean states in particular use this strategy, which has been supported by a financial sector anxious to profit from financial instruments such as catastrophe bonds, through which investors, in effect, bet against disaster in particular places. Through the appeal to security, other logics, which characterize different contexts, can be brought into existence and new actors can gain relevance in security policies. 4, November 2012), pp. The other relevant aspect of climate security discourse is the securitization of threats that are uncertain, widespread and whose impact is difficult to quantify. This discussion is usefully summarised in Geoff Dabelko, Lauren Herzer, Schuyler Null, Meaghan Parker and Russell Sticklor (eds), ‘Backdraft: The Conflict Potential of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation’, Woodrow Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program Report (Vol. Lorenzo Cotula, ‘The International Political Economy of the Global Land Rush: A Critical Appraisal of Trends, Scale, Geography and Drivers’, Journal of Peasant Studies (Vol. 53. Furthermore, given the increasingly artificial circumstances that the global economy is creating, security planners should now focus on the consequences of further expansion of the carbon-fuelled global economy, rather than on concerns about political instabilities in the rural peripheries caused by resource conflicts. 10. While in 1992 Hurricane Andrew caused billions of dollars of losses to Florida, it caused many fewer deaths than the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926. Exploring The Security Risks of Climate Change. Thus far appeals to climate security have mobilized actions even if the emergency measures have not exceeded the ordinary policy debate. That is to say, if an issue succeeds in being labelled as a security issue, the method of handling it will be transformed. The first emphasizes the importance of circulation—it suggests that disasters or conflict in one region have the ability, through population displacement to affect other regions and countries. The label security brings with it a set of practices and a way of dealing with a problem that characterizes an issue as a security issue. Jeff Tollefson, ‘Ocean Fertilization Project off Canada Sparks Furore’, Nature (Vol. David Humphreys, ‘Smoke and Mirrors: Some Reflections on the Science and Politics of Geoengineering’, Journal of Environment and Development (Vol. This is what has to be tackled, and soon, if major disruptions that the writers of climate-change scenarios warn about, with all the likely consequences for human civilisation, are to be avoided.58. In hot summers, when demand for electricity is enhanced by widespread air-conditioner usage, this is another factor adding to people's vulnerability. Similar objections came from a southern perspective: environmental security was perceived as a discourse about the security of northern countries, their access to resources and the protection of their patterns of consumption (Shiva 1994; Dalby 1999; Barnett 2001). Secondly, it has promoted the development of human security and of a new paradigm of preventive and intervention measures which are often legitimized by the use of the concept. 54. 12, No. The rest of this article focuses on three themes that together illustrate the implications of the new context of environmental security: first, rising concerns about urban vulnerabilities; second, the need to think through adaptive measures that tackle environmental change without causing conflict; and third, the possibilities of geo-engineering and potential conflicts over the use of such technologies. The Brandt Report (1980) suggested that ‘few threats to peace and survival of the human community are greater than those posed by the prospects of cumulative and irreversible degradation of the biosphere on which human life depends’ (quoted in Brauch 2003, 81). 31. (eds), Globalisation and Environmental Challenges: Reconceptualising Security in the 21 st Century (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2008). The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, an annual report on security threats to U.S. interests, concludes that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.” 36, No. Despite twenty years of discussions since the initial adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), there is still no binding agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions effectively. Humans have become an urban species and much of the global economy now revolves around bringing commodities, fuel and food to cities and, to a much lesser extent, recycling and disposing of the waste that urban consumption generates. These questions need to be addressed to analyse the meaning and function of climate security. Furthermore, the literature on resource wars suggests that the relative abundance of resources in particular places is likely to be a source of conflict.18 The way in which resources are traded in the international economy is also an increasingly important part of the discussion; boycotts of conflict diamonds, for example, link the global economy to particular episodes of violence in ways that clearly show that disruptions caused by the expanding global economy are often a key cause of conflict in rural peripheries. This suggests that issues can be politicized through an appeal to security, a problematic development for the Copenhagen School, which argues that ‘transcending a security problem by politicising it cannot happen through thematization in security terms, only away from such terms’ (Waever 1995, 56). The discussion of the Anthropocene makes it very clear that appeals to a universal humanity, which used to be dismissed by realists as idealist wishful thinking, now have to be taken seriously as the context for security thinking. Should the technology of geo-engineering, or the economic resources required to undertake it, cease to be available in the future, then heating will resume if carbon-dioxide levels remain high. Opponents were quick to warn that the term ‘security’ evokes a set of confrontational practices associated with the state and the military which should be kept apart from the environmental debate (Deudney 1990). The EU, for instance, has traditionally emphasized a preventive approach over a reactive one. This logic is borrowed from the Schmittian understanding of the political.5 For Carl Schmitt (1996 [1932], 37) the political is about the friend-enemy distinction and successfully evoking security brings about that distinction. In recent years, such concerns have finally become mainstream considerations among policy-makers internationally. As the failures of mitigation have become more apparent, attention has increasingly shifted to matters of climate adaptation, often in such important but banal matters as building bridges higher in anticipation of increased sea levels or larger floods.32 Yet critics warn that unless more attention is paid to the social and political dimensions of adaptation, these measures are more likely to cause conflict than prevent it.33 If the assumption that adaptation is necessarily a good thing is disregarded, its potential dangers are easier to see, especially when considering the global dimensions of the current transformation of the planet. Thus while both mitigation and adaptation measures make sense from a Northern perspective, ironically they may be a cause of conflict and insecurity in the South. More pertinently, conflicts were seen as part of the dynamic that draws groups together rather than a disturbance of an otherwise stable society. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies. Geopolitics, equity, and environmental security, De Wilde, Jaap (2001) ‘Environmental security’, Unpublished manuscript, The case against linking environmental degradation and national-security, Theoretical aspects of environmental security, On the threshold: environmental changes as causes of conflict, Environmental scarcities and violent conflict, Know your Schmitt: a godfather of truth and the spectre of Nazism, Broadening the agenda of security studies: politics and methods, NATO Committee on Challenges of Modern Society, Reflexive security: NATO and international risk society, International organization for environmental security, Schwartz, Peter and Doug Randall (2003) ‘An abrupt climate change scenario and its implications for United States national security’, Global Business Network, Emeryville, <, Shea, Jamie (2006) ‘Energy security: NATO's potential role’, NATO Review, 2006:3, <, Conflicts of global ecology: environmental activism in a period of global reach, Global change, environmental security, and the prisoner's dilemma, Towards a theory of securitization: Copenhagen and beyond, Security and solidarity: an anti-reductionist analysis of environmental policy. Environmental security and climate chang .... : The politics of climate change: environmental dynamics in international affairs, Evolving perspectives on environmental and climate security, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3381425.stm, http://www.britischebotschaft.de/en/news/items/061024.htm, http://www.edf.org/documents/3566_AbruptClimateChange.pdf, http://www.nato.int/docu/review/2006/issue3/english/special1.html, < http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename = OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c = Page&cid = 1183543073739> (http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/front?pagename=openmarket/xcelerate/showpage&c=page&cid=1183543073739). There are no institutions that can make such decisions, at least not yet. Field studies conducted in the 1990s suggested that widespread fears of poverty-induced rural conflict were usually seriously exaggerated. This transformation is evident in the debate on the kind of threats that are posed by climate change and in its recent transformation. See for instance the discussions in 2007 and again in 2011 at the UN Security Council, ‘Security Council Holds First-Ever Debate on Impact of Climate Change on Peace, Security, Hearing Over 50 Speakers’, press release SC/9000, 17 April 2007, , accessed 17 May 2013; and UN Security Council, ‘Security Council, in Statement, Says “Contextual Information” on Possible Security Implications of Climate Change Important When Climate Impacts Drive Conflict’, press release, SC/10332, 20 July 2011, , accessed 17 May 2013. The second aspect is the shift of importance between two different and overlapping securitizations. As these examples of the unintended consequences of adaptation suggest, the environment can no longer be considered as something external to human actions. 19. In this context the ‘emergency measures’ determined by the appeal to environmental security have been ‘designed and developed in the realm of ordinary policy debates’ (Buzan et al 1998, 83). Security in this perspective is not a value or a condition but a form of social practice. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012). This private venture, using a ship to disperse several hundred tons of iron sulphate into the ocean off of Canada's west coast, raised questions as to who might be authorised, and by what agency or state, to carry out this kind of experiment.47 The questions concern whether this is a matter of polluting the ocean, whether it is a matter for common agreement by parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and how such experiments might be monitored. Kurt M Campbell et al., The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies and Center for a New American Security, 2007); German Advisory Council on Global Change, Climate Change as a Security Risk (London: Earthscan, 2008). However, over the last few years, concerns over climate changes have gained momentum. 16. As humankind pushes the boundaries of the carrying capacity of the planet, the impact of climate change is going to increase especially on those who live in marginal, vulnerable areas. Successful appeals to security require developing security policies, identifying appropriate strategies and means to deal with the problem. 28. One of the biggest risks posed by climate change is the potential for massive population displacement. Also climate actions to adapt and mitigate impacts can … These all pose difficult but now unavoidable questions in relation to both contemporary geopolitics and to the issues on which security agencies now need to focus as a result of the new circumstances that industrial humanity is creating – of which climate change is but the most obvious facet. Constructivists and poststructuralists have challenged the narrow realist perspective, suggesting instead that threats are socially constructed. However, given the fact that the international community has not seriously – or successfully – engaged in prevention, as the rapid retreat of the Arctic Ocean ice cap in particular is demonstrating, geo-engineering is now, reluctantly, being considered. Thus, contrary to some currently popular conventional wisdom, the geopolitical context for humanity is not a given and permanent cartographic arrangement. Different temperatures will undoubtedly have various impacts depending on location. The Copenhagen School has suggested that when the environment is involved, ‘“emergency measures” are still designed and developed in the realm of ordinary policy debates’ (83). However, Dalby focused on alternative visions of security based on ecological principles rather than exploring the implications of a specific usage in a particular context. On the other hand, Beck points out that ‘[t]he concept of “enemy” is the strongest possible antithesis to the concept of security’ since ‘enemy stereotypes empower’ as they create ‘the relationships and the behavioural logic of attack and defence, pro and contra, which first kill the question and then the people’ (1997, 82). Serious discussion of global environmental security must consider the interconnected nature of the world, especially as ecological research shows that human society is in the process of dramatically changing how the earth system operates. On analytical grounds, it seemed a way to provide a better account of new typologies of vulnerability as well as the potential for conflict and violence with which these vulnerabilities could be associated. The securitization of the environment, it is argued, is transforming existing security practices and provisions. ), Climate Change and National Security: A Country Level Analysis (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011). However, once the possibilities of adjusting the planetary system are seriously discussed, this fraught matter becomes unavoidable. Instead, climate change is only one aspect of a larger human-made environmental change. Hence, it is relevant to explore which specific aspects are identified in the climate security discourse, in order to assess its potential and limits in a process of transformation. 21. An alternative is to ignore the dangers and use financial measures such as insurance and catastrophe bonds to subsequently rebuild should disaster strike. The article is presented in three parts. Climate change as a national security issue In her response, Malini Mehra states that the continued framing of climate change as an environmental issue is a contributing reason for it getting short shrift in terms of policy attention. Who is supposed to provide security and by what means? According to Beck, a risk society undermines the credibility of institutions and practices dedicated to security provision. 23, Although greenhouse gas concentrations might have increased even faster than they are currently without the efforts of numerous agencies and the arrangements agreed under the Kyoto Protocol, it is nonetheless clear that the mitigation measures adopted so far have failed to stop the increase in levels of greenhouse gases, with the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere having approached 400 parts per million in early 2013. This is particularly clear in relation to agriculture, especially in Africa. Since environmental problems began to gain relevance in political discourse in the 1970s, there have been a number of suggestions to consider their security implications (Falk 1971; Brown 1977). First, Beck suggests that it is impossible to disentangle oneself from a web of risk. (United Nations 1992, article 2). Themes like risk management and preventive approaches have become more relevant in security discussions. Instead it is more a form of rationality, a way of framing and dealing with an issue, or ‘a generic structure of meaning which organizes dispositions, social relations, and politics according to a rationality of security’ (Huysmans 2006, 24–25). Since their adoption by the United Nations in 2005, the principles of the Responsibility to Protect have influenced the security agenda. In theory, at least, plankton growth can be stimulated by the artificial provision of key nutrients in short supply, in particular ocean waters. Investigations into conflict minerals and resource wars have added complications to environmental-security discussions, not least because many resources are fought over in places where effective state rule is absent. By adopting a perspective that is attentive to the social construction of security issues and its implications, the article assesses the potential of a discursive approach in transforming existing security practices. If attempts at both mitigation by offsetting emissions and adaptation by further transforming rural landscapes are troublesome, the clear implication is that a direct focus on building economies not powered by carbon fuels ought to be a priority for all concerned about security in its various forms. For climate change it is the other way around: diplomats, businesses, environmentalists and everybody else should fight climate change. A further vexing political question is what temperature geo-engineering ought to aim to achieve for the Earth – and who should decide. ), Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails (London: Routledge, 2010). These results have largely been used by the study ‘Environment and Security in an International Context’, launched in 1995 by the NATO Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS) and carried out by research teams in Germany and in the US (Lietzmann and Vest 1999). There is evidence that some of this is already occurring; more could well be in the offing. The current loss of property and lives as a result of such extreme events makes these discussions more pressing as climate change accelerates. Attempts to broaden the security agenda result in the spreading of this rationality to other contexts from which it had been excluded (Buzan and Waever 1998). In this way the idea that environmental measures can be a threat to economic competitiveness and growth is turned around with a cost-benefit analysis which warned that inaction on climate change could cost the world economy between 5 and 20 per cent of global GDP each year, whereas the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emission to avoid the worst impact of climate change could be limited to around 1 per cent of global GDP annually (Nicholas Stern 2006, vi). This approach downplays the complexity of environmental problems and the impact of the overuse of limited resources. Who or what is the object of security in the climate security discourse? Linda Wallbott, ‘Political in Nature: The Conflict-Fueling Character of International Climate Policies’, in Jürgen Scheffran et al. CNA prepared a report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change , that described how climate change is a threat multiplier for instability. In the literature there is a debate about whether and how security language transforms the method of dealing with an issue—the debate focuses ‘on the implications of using security language for the definition and governance of migration and the environment’ (Huysmans 2006, 16)—but there is little on the reverse process or on the implications of using environmental language for the definition and governance of security.3 This article is an attempt to develop the latter type of analysis by exploring the meaning and function of environmental and climate security. ’ reliance on fossil fuels and a zero-sum understanding of security can be brought into being according to Beck a. Between developed and developing countries but it tends to be more effective and new means are employed provide. In different contexts challenges and transforms the practices associated with security unchallenged more urgent and serious,. 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