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Climate Security in the Anthropocene

Exploring the Approaches of United Nations Security Council Member-States

  • Systematic study of different framings of climate security & policy responses by United Nations Security Council members

  • Innovative framework & methodology that uses multiple security approaches including traditional, human, and ecological

  • Case studies written by local, experienced researchers drawing from an extensive number of primary and secondary sources

Part of the book series: The Anthropocene: Politik—Economics—Society—Science (APESS, volume 33)

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Table of contents (17 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction: A Framework for Assessing Climate Security

    • Judith Nora Hardt, Cameron Harrington, Franziskus von Lucke, Adrien Estève, Nicholas P. Simpson
    Pages 1-23
  3. The Climate-Security Nexus in Indonesia: A Multitude of Threats and Approaches

    • I Gede Wahyu Wicaksana, Yohanes William Santoso
    Pages 163-181
  4. Securing a Climate-resilient Pathway for South Africa

    • Birgitt Ouweneel, Nicholas P. Simpson
    Pages 231-257
  5. Climate Security at a Crossroads: The Evolution and Future of Climate Security in the United Nations Security Council and its Member States

    • Judith Nora Hardt, Cameron Harrington, Franziskus von Lucke, Adrien Estève, Nicholas P. Simpson
    Pages 367-391
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 393-400

About this book

The speed and scale of climate change presents unique and potentially monumental security implications for individuals, future generations, international institutions and states. Long-dominant security paradigms and policies may no longer be appropriate for dealing with these new security risks of the Anthropocene. In response to this phenomenon, this book investigates how states have reacted to these new challenges and how their different understandings of the climate-security nexus might shape global actions on climate change. It focuses on the perceptions, framings, and policies of climate security by members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the world's highest ranking multilateral security forum. 

Empirically, the book presents detailed, bottom-up case studies from local authors of every UNSC member state in 2020. It combines this with an innovative theoretical approach spanning national, human and ecological security that helps to capture the complex dynamics of state-led approaches to dealing with security in the Anthropocene. This book therefore offers readers a compelling picture of climate-security politics in the UNSC, beyond Council debates and resolutions. By comparing and contrasting how different framings of climate security impact various policy sectors of members states, the authors are able to assess the barriers and opportunities for addressing climate security locally and globally.

“This timely contribution to the literature on climate security examines the under-analysed relationship between the policy approaches of key countries at the national, and at the international level. Policy alignment at multiple levels of governance will be critical if we are to respond adequately to the ubiquitous challenges posed by climate change and variability.”
                        Shirley Scott, Head of School and Professor, School of  Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy (Australia).

"Climate change is increasingly considered a problem of 'security', yet what that means remains deeply contested. Behind the rhetoric of 'climate crisis’, threats and 'emergencies’, UN Security Council members offer profoundly different ideas about what climate change – and security – mean, and what should be done about it. This book brilliantly lays out the hidden or overlooked divergences of interests and perspectives on 'climate security' that are playing out in the world's most central security institution, as it grapples with securing a climate unstable world."

Olaf Corry, Professor of Global Security Challenges, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds (United Kingdom).

"Security is a contested concept, whose scope and direction are subject to change. The prime value of this volume is the systematic documentation of the dynamics in defining what security is about in reaction to ever dramatic climate change. The book's focus on a somewhat representative sample of states – the members of the Security Council – provides robust evidence that even though many governments remain reluctant to retreat from traditional perceptions of security, there is a large and growing acceptance of the need to adjust priorities in providing security in response to climate change and its consequences."

Michael Brzoska, Professor and Senior Research Fellow, IFSH Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, Universität Hamburg (Germany).

"The climate security literature has often been labelled as West-centric with little recognition of knowledge production processes, and different historical, socio-economic, and political experiences of various societies in the Global South. This book goes beyond the conventional approaches to provide a whole range of perspectives on climate security reflective of diverse contextual realities – covering factors such as development imperatives, conflict dynamics, postcolonial legacies, institutional/actor complexities, and geopolitical contestations, among others. By focusing on the climate security approaches of various countries (case studies) at the domestic and international levels, the applicability of existing climate security frameworks (or lack thereof) in the context of these case studies is brilliantly brought out by the chapters. This book weaves together these diverse perspectives by providing a comprehensive overview of climate security-related policies of countries from both Global South and Global North; and their positions on climate change and security in the UNSC. They reflect the varying norms, interests, priorities, and challenges that continue to shape the climate security agenda within the UNSC as well as non-UNSC platforms. This book is a must read for anyone interested in gaining an in-depth and invigorating understanding of the evolution of distinct climate security discourses and practices in varying contexts."

Dhanasree Jayaram, Assistant Professor, Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) (India), Research Fellow. Centre Marc Bloch.

"Climate Security in the Anthropocene provides a timely and compelling account of the conceptualizations of the climate security nexus and their implications. By considering climate security through the lenses of national, human and ecological security it provides a sophisticated account of the different dimensions involved in the UNSC debates and beyond. The collection of chapters illustrating the positions of the members of the UN Security Council in 2020, not only provide an informative account but also sheds light on the challenges that the UNSC faces in dealing with climate change."

Maria Julia Trombetta, Associate Professor in Politics and Environment, School of International Studies, Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies, University of Nottingham Ningbo China (China).

"The book “Climate Security in the Anthropocene” is the first systematic assessment of climate security decision-making and governance of the UN Security Council. It is groundbreaking as it combines empirical bottom-up case studies of perceptions and policies of different ministries and governmental agencies of UNSC member states with a novel theoretical framework contrasting different security framings and conceptions in the Anthropocene. Discussing various policy sectors, the study assesses barriers and opportunities and provides novel insights on multi-scale responses and interactions in the climate-security nexus from local to global levels, connecting individuals, future generations, international institutions and states. The book is highly recommendable for everyone interested in the emerging field of policy-oriented climate-security research."

Jürgen Scheffran, Professor for Integrative Geography, Head of the Research Group, “Climate Change and Security” (CLISEC), Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, Universität Hamburg (Germany). 

"This volume provides multifocal insights into the climate/security nexus, combining critical security studies and international relations theories in the age of the Anthropocene. Analyzing the perceptions, policies, and positions of 15 UN Security Council member states, this thought-provoking piece demonstrates how national security, human security, and ecological security have advanced as conceptual innovations. Offering a rich and diverse range of empirical case studies, this piece is a strong contribution to academic discourse and teaching alike."

Franziska MüllerJunior Professor for Political Science, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, Universität Hamburg (Germany). 


  • Climate change
  • Security
  • Climate Security
  • United Nations Security Council
  • Anthropocene
  • Country case Studies
  • Climate governance
  • UNSC
  • Securitization
  • Risk

Editors and Affiliations

  • Research Focus Climate, Energy and Environment, Centre Marc Bloch, An-Institut of the Humboldt University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

    Judith Nora Hardt

  • School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University, Durham, UK

    Cameron Harrington

  • Institute of Political Science, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

    Franziskus von Lucke

  • Center for International Studies, Science Po, Paris, France

    Adrien Estève

  • African Cliamte and Development, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

    Nicholas P. Simpson

About the editors

Judith Nora Hardt works as a postdoctoral researcher with the Franco-German research centre for social sciences Centre Marc Bloch. In 2014, Judith received her PhD (Dr. Phil) in International Relations from the University of the Basque Country (Spain). She worked as a lecturer in International Relations, Nature Conservation and Socioeconomics at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (Germany) and has been part of the research group “Climate Change and Security” at the University of Hamburg since 2017. She is also an associated researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy. Since March 1st 2021, she has been the project manager of the three-year Franco-German project Multiple Crises: Covid-19 and the Entanglements of Public Health, Security and Ecology in Europe, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. She is active in the Network of Scientists for Future. Her book Environment and Security in the Anthropocene: Assessing Theory and Practice was published with Routledge in 2018.

Cameron Harrington is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University. He is a researcher and analyst of global environmental politics. In particular, he draws from international relations, political philosophy, criminology, and human geography and focuses on the theory and practice of environmental security, particularly water conflict and cooperation in the Anthropocene. His book, Security in the Anthropocene: Reflections on Safety and Care, co-written with Clifford Shearing, was published by Transcript-Verlag in 2017.

Franziskus von Lucke is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Tübingen. His research focuses on international relations, critical security studies, ontological (in)security, European studies, and theories of climate (in)justice. He has worked extensively on securitization theory with a particular focus on the entanglement of securitizing moves and political power, as well as on the securitization of climate change in different national settings. He has also looked at the European Union and has explored whether and how the EU has contributed to global climate (in)justice and how narratives of ontological (in)security connect to different forms of solidarity in Europe. Besides appearing in Geopolitics, the Journal of International Relations and Development, Political Geography and in the Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen (ZIB), two of his books deal with the linkages between climate change and security: The Securitisation of Climate Change and the Governmentalisation of Security (Palgrave, 2020), and The Securitisation of Climate Change: Actors, Processes and Consequences (Routledge, 2016, together with Thomas Diez and Zehra Wellmann).

Adrien Estève is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for International Studies (CERI-CNRS- Sciences Po Paris) and a resident at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM). His research focuses on the implications of security and defence actors in defence policies, on the emergence of international forums and networks on climate security, and on the evolution of forms of conflict (lawfare). He oversees the research seminar “Environment and International Relations” at CERI. He was also a visiting scholar at Columbia University for the academic year 2017-2018 and again in April 2019. His research studies the involvement of military actors in climate change governance, and his latest article focuses more specifically on the French armed forces. 

Nicholas Simpson is a Senior Advisor at the Global Centre for Climate Mobility and is the Lead for Knowledge & Practice at the Africa Climate Mobility Initiative. He holds research association with the University of Cape Town. His complex climate risk framework underpins the new risk framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment and is being used to guide climate risk assessment by a diversity of security actors including the Belgian government’s National Security Council and research planning on energy security by the U.S. Department of Energy. His previous research extended security studies to explore how and why resilience has been employed as a means of understanding and responding to unanticipated and severe Anthropocene events. He is a Lead Author on the Africa chapter of the IPCC and a member of the extended writing team of the IPCC Synthesis Report. He is an Associate Editor for the journal Climate Risk Management. The recently published, Criminology and Climate, (Routledge) features his work on Insurance in the Anthropocene.

Bibliographic Information

Buy it now

Buying options

eBook USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

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