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1980s, the emerging problem of µglobal warming¶ was seen by policymakers, when it was not ignored altogether, as an environmental issue of peripheral concern, to be dealt with by environment ministries. By the 1990s, climate modelling had become more sophisticated, actual patterns of change in regional climate conditions were being observed and policy -makers began accepting that ways must be found to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissionsEmissions. Given that doing so would necessitate drastic changes to the use of fossil fuels, climate change quickly became an economic and energy po licy issue. But in just the past few years, the language of climate change has shifted once again. Climate change is now being recast as a threat to international peace and security; and the region seen as most likely to suff er its worst eff ects is Africa.
Debate at UN security council: more than 50 countries attended the day -long debate and the majority agreed both that climate change presented a threat to international security and that the Security Council was an appropriate, albeit not the only, for um in which to discuss the issue.
In short, the issue of the security implications of climate change has caught the political imagination, generating a perceptible shift in the way a growing number of decision-makers are talking about the subject. There a re perhaps two reasons for this. The first fi rst is self-evident: it is becoming increasingly clear that future climate change threatens to exacerbate existing drivers of confl ict in a way that could roll back development across many countries.
For example, a June 2007 report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggested that the confl ict in Darfur has in part been driven by climate change and environmental degradation. 12 Over the past 40 years rainfall in the region has fallen by 30 per cent and the Sahara has advanced by more than a mile every year. The resulting tension between farmers and herders over disappearing pasture and declining water -holes underpins the genesis of the Darfur confl ict. It also threatens to reignite the half -century-long war between north and south Sudan, currently suspended by a fragile 2005 peace accord. The southern Nuba tribe, for example, have warned that they could µrestart¶ the war if Arab nomads displaced south by the drought continue to cut down µthe ir¶ trees for fodder to feed their camels.
Picking up on this message in a subsequent Washington Post editorial, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon argued: µAlmost invariably, we discuss Darfur in a convenient military
µWater and confl ict: fresh water resources and international security¶. economic. arising in part from cl imate change. practices and functions. for the international community has found it very diffi cult to predict confl ict between or within nations with any degree of accuracy.com/ wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/15/AR2007061501857. Diagnoses of the Rwandan genocide done after the fact place heavy blame on population pressure on increasingly scarce land resources. unregulated population movements. perceptions. adaptation takes place through adjustments to reduce vulnerability or enhance resilience to observed or expected changes in climate. 95±120. pp. migrations et sécurité¶. Climate change 2007. but the ripple eff ects of which will be felt beyond national boundaries. but the scarcity ±confl ict argument has not been used terribly successfully to predict confl ict before the fact. International Security 18. In the context of climate change. Gleick. 1993.] 36 . social and political factors. the Darfur confl ict began as an ecological crisis. and involves changes in processes. climate change could contribute to destabilizing. Washington Post. Amid the diverse social and political causes. usually implying a process of adjustment to survive and. R. and you discover a more complex dynamic. competition for water has not been a signifi cant causal factor.P. 16 June 2007. pp. This is to be expected. http://www.washingtonpost. Adding climate change to the analytical mix further complicates matters. A further analytical challenge is to disaggregate the role of climate change from other environmental. accessed 2 July 2007. Look to its roots. given the complexity of climate science and the mass of potential biophysical outcomes. though. 35 Adaptation may be initiated on a variety of scales. 36 [ 35 Parry et al. altered precipitation patterns.] The scientifi c basis for climate change is increasingly well established. thrive in the face of change. Ki-moon. if it is at all possible to do so. Scarcity of water has for decades been identifi ed as a potential trigger for confl ict in the Middle East. 2006. 79±112. However. McLeman and B.and political short -hand²an ethnic confl ict pitting Arab militias against black rebels and farmers. and the likely consequencesof all these eff ects for human well -being. µChangement climatique. from institutionally driven policies and programmes at national or subnational levels to adjustments and risk management decision s within individual households.html.. state security and confl ict. ideally.¶ 13 [B.] µAdaptation¶ is a broad concept informed by both the natural and the social sciences. and there is continuous growth in the amount of research being done on the biophysical impacts of climate change in terms of raised sea levels. even in the absence of obvious climatic or environmental stimuli. [34 . Les Cahiers de la sécurité 63. µA climate culprit in Darfur¶. and more frequent and fi erce storms. most of which will be internal. there is comparatively little empirical evidence on the links between climate change. 34 yet while there has been and continues to be much confl ict in that region. Smit. H.
African Centre for Technology Studies Confl icts and Adaptation policy brief 2. 53 These fi gures are. after all.org/document/1 7/0. Eriksen. could help direct international money and attention to reducing vulnerability not just to climate change but also to environmental degradation. Modernisation n d survival where traditional coping strategies can no longer be used because of s tructural changes such as trade liberalization or government policies. 47 [ 47 S. 2006. Muok. pre -confl ict prevention tends to be less expensive than post -confl ict peacekeeping (quite aside from the costs of confl ict itself ). µAdaptation to climate change: what¶s needed in poor countries. µDevelopment aid from OECD countries fell 5. J. The British NGO Oxfam argued that this was too conservative and suggested that the necessary fi nancing coul d top $50 billion annually. 3.en_2649_201185_38341265_1_1_1_1. estimated that the annual bill for adaptation in developing countries could fall somewhere in a wide range from $10 billion to $40 billion. and who should pay¶. persistent violence has depleted the herders¶ productive assetbase. A lack of adaptive capacity can contribute to confl ict. µThe urgent need to increase adaptive capacities: evidence from Kenyan drylands¶.] The sort of adaptation activities that emphasize information (on vulnerability and climate risks) and early warning could contribute to confl ict prevention.] Adaptation as confl ict prevention and peacebuilding The political momentum behind climate change and (by extension) adaptation provides the international community with a new entry point to revisit some longstanding development problems. if well done. and weaken governance institutions needed for economic development and innovation. death and illness). Nov. somewhat fanciful. of course. Likewise. destroy infrastruct ure. Confl ict can deplete human resources (through injury. exhaust the natural resource base. Oxfam briefi ng paper 104.1% in 2006¶. improved resource management in general). which was $103 billion in 2006. accessed Aug. K. current funds for adaptation are a tiny fraction of this.html. 54 OECD. adaptation could contribute to longer -term peacebuilding in confl ictprone areas through measures that build adaptive capacity (co -management of water resources. Lind and B. µAdaptation¶. That sort of inve stment might be money well spent. 54 [ 53 Oxfam International.00. 2007. which can go on to undermine adaptive capacity further.oecd. p.the link between adaptive capacity and confl ict can be understood in terms of a positive feedback loop. http://www. .3343. May 2007. Ulsrud. The World Bank. poverty and confl ict. thereby restricting their livelihoods and increasing the number of destitute groups who must rely on survival strateg ies such as charcoal burning and gathering wild foods. in a much -cited fi gure. 2007. undermine critical social networks. But if anything approaching this level of funding did come to pass it would represent a radical reallocation of the gl obal aid budget.
Since the end of the Cold War. Securitization regularly leads to all -round µexceptionalism¶ in dealing with the issue as well as to a shift in institutional localization towards µsecurity experts¶ (Bigot 2006). it seems that campaigners (and the media) are presenting climate change as an imponderable force. such as the military and police. It is these headlines that get picked up by the media. are consistent with enhancing security and reducing the potential for confl ict at all scales. communities are capable of adaptation. As late as 1985. But it was really in the post Cold War era that the world saw a dramatic increase in international activity around environmental issues. On the positive side. thus leading to arms races. identifying the threat to the world environment as one of the two supreme dangers facing mankind. in particular. These are things the international community should be doing anyhow and. to strengthen measures aimed at protecting them from the spillover of violent conflict from the poorer countries in the global South th at will be most affected by climate change. to secure by force one¶s own resources or erect solid barriers to large -scale distress migration. the old George Kennan wrote in. First. dire predictions about coming environmental wars imply that climate change requires military solutions. But the future is not set in stone. done well. cause the richer countries in the global North. it will serve a useful purpose. which are less affected by it. Waever 1995). given the will. So if securitization speeds their implementation. there has been renewed interest in what is now called 'non-traditional' security issues. But focusing on military responses both raises the stakes and diverts attention from the more cost -eff ective alternative of adaptation. In the literature on securitization it is implied that when a problem is securitized it is difficult to limit this to an increase in attention and resources devoted to mitigating the problem (Brock 1997. the leadership and the resources to do so. the way in which the climate change debate is becoming a debate about security (and in so doing displacing focus on its developmental or environmental consequences) presents both risks and opportunities. . The portrayal of climate change as a security problem could.Meanwhile. Climate change campaigning has a tendency to gravitate towards worst -case scenarios for political shock value. It could also be used by major powers as a justification for improving their military preparedness against the other major powers. a µsecuritized¶ climate debat e might be able to marshal suffi ciently compelling arguments to encourage the politicians to do something about reducing emissions and investing (carefully) in adaptation. Too often. a fi fth horseman of the apocalypse that will inevitably usher in confl ict regardless of the specifi c context or the international community¶s response. the more dire predictions border on scaremongering and risk sprea ding µclimate change fatigue¶ ²a sense of hopelessness and resignation in the face of an unbeatable challenge ²among the wider public.
.The United Nations Environmental Program has reported that about 170 treaties have been negotiated in recent years on various issues of the global environment.
µClimate change threatens security UK tells UN¶. 18 April 2007. edited by John Vogler and Mark F. Hugh C.washingtonpost. 24 Oct. H. London: Earthscan. Thomas. Climate change 2007. Guardian. Ki-moon. 2. 2004. µChangement climatique. de/en/news/items/061024. 1994. p. Gleditsch (eds. accessed 7 July 2007. . 2001). McLeman and B. Richard H. µBeckett speech on climate change and security¶. New York: Routledge J. Environmental Security as a Universal Value: Implications for International Theory. 36 R.org/templates/ story/story.bbc.). British Embassy Berlin.npr.P. 1998). Les Cahiers de la sécurité 63. Redefining Security. International Security 18. 317. [ B. International Security 19(1): 5-40. 2007. Environmental Conflict (B oulder: Westview Press. stm. http://www. migrations et sécurité¶. http://news.) P.] Homer-Dixon. National Public Radio.Bibliography Dyer.F. 95±120 . A. Ullman. 1993.htm.co..).html. http://www. µA climate culprit in Darfur¶.com/ wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/15/AR2007061501857. pp. Imber.P. Brown. accessed 2 July 2007. World in Transition: Climate Change as a Security Risk. In The Environment and International Relations. Clark. 2007.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3381425. Diehl and N. 2006. Gleick. 1996.W. Washington Post. accessed 7 July 2007. µWater and confl ict: fresh water resources and international security¶.britishembassy. 9 Jan. "International Environment Cooperation as a Contribution to World Security" in Klare and Chandrani (eds.php?storyId=9580815. (4. Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases. Smit. 2006. µClimate change worries military advisers¶. µGlobal warming ³biggest threat´¶. World Security New York New York: St. 16 June 2007. 79±112.] BBC News. 35 Parry et al. p. pp. http://www. 1983. Martin's Press. accessed 8 July 2007. International Security 8(1): 129-153 WBGU (German Advisory Council on Global Change).
Lind and B. Muok. Nov. J. K. 2006. µThe urgent need to increase adaptive capacities: evidence from Kenyan drylands¶. Eriksen.S. African Centre for Technology Studies Confl icts and Adaptation policy brief 2. Ulsrud. .
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