How can we address the security risks of climate change?

Addressing the security risks of climate change means managing the unavoidable, and avoiding the unmanageable. First, governments and societies must commit the resources necessary to manage climate change impacts on food, water and energy security, as well as its implications for geopolitical dynamics in strategically-significant parts of the world, such as the Arctic, the South China Sea and the Middle East and North Africa. Second, governments and societies must take measures to avoid worst-case climate change scenarios which may be very difficult for nations and international institutions to manage effectively.

Some examples include: incorporating climate change considerations into national security, defense, diplomatic and development strategies; addressing climate change at collective security institutions; climate-proofing efforts to enhance food, water and energy security; ensuring that critical infrastructure is able to withstand future pressures from more frequent and intense extreme weather events; developing the legal and institutional structures to manage migration as a climate adaptation strategy; incorporating climate concerns into military-military and civilian-military cooperation on disaster risk reduction; improving understanding of how climate change pressures interact with state stability and state legitimacy; committing significant resources to climate resilience in unstable parts of the world, and developing climate mitigation strategies that are consistent with international security priorities.

Read more:

2015: Climate Change as Threat Multiplier: Understanding the Broader Nature of the Risk, Center for Climate and Security
2014: “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change,” CNA Corporation
2013: Thirty-Eight Leading U.S. National Security Experts Urge Action on International Climate Change Initiatives. Partnership for a Secure America
2013: Underpinning the MENA Democratic Transition: Delivering Climate, Energy and Resource Security. E3G
2013: Planning for Complex Risks: Environmental Change, Energy Security and the Minerva Initiative. Briggs, Chad.
2013: Understanding Climate Diplomacy: Building diplomatic capacity and systems to avoid dangerous climate change. Mabey, N. Gallager, B, Born, C. E3G
2012: Protecting Americans in the 21st Century: Communicating Priorities for 2012 and Beyond. National Homeland Security Consortium.
2011: Degrees of Risk: Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security. Mabey, N. et al. E3G
2010: Climate Conflict: how global warming threatens security and what to do about it. Mazo, J., London: International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
2010: Climate Security: Impacts and Opportunities for Transatlantic Relations. Feakin, T. and Depledge, D. Washington, DC: GMF.
2010: Facing the Climate Security Threat: Why the Security Community Needs a “Whole-of-Government” Response to Global Climate Change. Mabey, N. Washington, DC: GMF
2010: Future Landscapes of Conflict or Cooperation? Climate Security Needs Transatlantic Leadership. Taenzler, D. and Carius, A. Washington, DC: GMF.
2007: Meeting the Climate-Change Challenge Avoiding the Unmanageable & Managing the Unavoidable. John P. Holdren, United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development