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If Climate Change is a Security Threat, Who’s Qualified to Fight It? Hint: Everyone
A recent piece in AlertNet raises some fair questions about the “securitisation of climate change,” including the dangers of fear-based sensationalist messages and the need for additional research into the links between climate change and violent conflict. It also goes on to make a debatable assertion about the risks of linking climate change to security – one which assumes that framing climate change as a security issue risks overshadowing important social and environmental concerns. (more…)
An Unprecedented Risk Needs an Unprecedented Response
We know with a very high degree of certainty the likelihood of climate change and its expected impacts.
We know, for example, that the seas will rise, that 50% of the Earth’s population lives in coastal zones, and that by 2025 that number will rise to seventy-five percent.
We know that global agriculture production faces increased floods and droughts, which will disrupt growing patterns that have been cultivated over thousands of years, severely diminishing our ability to feed a global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.
We know that climate change will impact resource availability, such as freshwater, compelling people to move to new locations, within and across national boundaries. We know that such dynamics can result in conflict and violence.
Despite the certainty of these risks, the global response has been feeble at best. In short, we were unprepared. Climate change at this rate and scale is unprecedented in human history. Our governance structures, from the familial to the international, which are responsible for responding to risk and maintaining our security, have evolved during a period of relative climate certainty. Cities, trade agreements, economies, national boundaries, political systems, security strategies, have all been built upon a stable climate.
In a world with an unstable climate, all of these structures will have to prepare. An unprecedented risk needs an unprecedented response.