Last week's discussion at the U.N. Security Council on the security implications of climate change was an important step in the right direction. This is only the second time that the subject, which may turn out to be the defining issue for global security in the 21st century, has made it onto the agenda of the U.N. body charged with maintaining international peace and security. The discussion's importance is limited, however, since the real path to addressing the security implications of climate change lies outside the council. The special session, initiated by Germany, focused specifically on the council's role in preventing climate-induced conflict over increasingly scarce food, water and arable land. The solution to these conflicts, however, can only be found in reducing carbon emissions -- including by scaling up the deployment of renewable energy technologies and increasing energy efficiency measures -- and not in responding to climate crises once they have occurred.
The physical effects of a warming climate are now widely regarded as, in the words of the U.K. National Security Strategy document, "risk multipliers." Everyone from the U.S. National Intelligence Council (.pdf) to the Royal Society (.pdf) has highlighted the link between the consequences of higher global temperatures and human insecurity. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Diplomatic Fallout: Global Trends Point to Fragmentation of International Crisis Management
- Popular Pressure for Climate Change Action Puts Heat on COP20 in Peru
- Diplomatic Fallout: Failed Peacemaking Efforts Make 2014 Year of Dead-End Diplomacy
- In South Sudan, U.N. Peacekeepers’ Biggest Challenge: Staying Neutral
- Diplomatic Fallout: Bold or Not, Next U.N. Secretary-General Faces World of Pain