Afterward: Closing Thoughts on the Water–Food–Energy–Climate Nexus

  • Richard A. Matthew
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


In the space of a decade, the concept of the “nexus” has gained considerable traction as a holistic, and allegedly disruptive, approach to thinking about current environmental issues. The content of the nexus varies across reports and conferences and speeches—there is the water–energy nexus, the water–energy–food nexus, the water–energy–food–climate nexus and so on (e.g. McCornick et al. 2008; Perrone and Hornberger 2014; Poppy et al. 2014; WBCSD 2009; WEF 2009; for an annotated bibliography, see Williams 2014). But those embracing this concept appear less concerned about reaching broad agreement on what it does and does not include than they are about reaching an agreement that the concept itself is innovative, inclusive and useful for understanding and addressing contemporary environmental challenges.


  1. Asthana, V., and A.C. Shukla. 2014. Water Security in India: Hope, Despair, and the Challenges of Human Development. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  2. Collier, P. 2008. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done about It. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Floyd, R., and R.A. Matthew, eds. 2012. Environmental Security: Frameworks for Analysis. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Hoff, H. 2011. Understanding the Nexus. Background Paper for the Bonn 2011 Conference: The Water, Energy and Food Security Nexus. Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute.Google Scholar
  5. Matthew, R.A. 2014. Environmental Security, Volume Two: Environmental Change, National Security and the Conflict Cycle. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ———. 2017. Rethinking the Food-Water-Energy-Climate Security Nexus. In The Social Ecology of the Anthropocene: Continuity and Change in Global Environmental Politics, ed. R.A. Matthew, K. Goodrich, C. Harron, B. Maharramovla, and E. Nizkorodov, 261–277. London: World Scientific Publishing/Imperial College Press.Google Scholar
  7. McCornick, P.G., S.B. Awulachew, and M. Abebe. 2008. Water-Food-Energy-Environment Synergies and Tradeoffs: Major Issues and Case Studies. Water Policy 10: 23–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. UN (United Nations). 1987. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. Available at: Accessed 10 July 2015.
  9. Perrone, D., and G.M. Hornberger. 2014. Water, Food, and Energy Security: Scrambling for Resources or Solutions? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water 1 (1): 49–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Poppy, G.M., P.C. Jepson, J.A. Pickett, and J.A. Birkett. 2014. Achieving Food and Environmental Security: New Approaches to Close the Gap. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369 (1639): 1–6.Google Scholar
  11. WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development). 2009. Water, Energy and Climate Change. A Contribution from the Business Community. Geneva: WBCSD.Google Scholar
  12. WEF (World Economic Forum). 2009. The Bubble Is Close to Bursting, Managing Our Future Water Needs for Agriculture, Industry, Human Health and the Environment. New York: WEF. Available at: Accessed 6 June 2017.
  13. ———. 2011. Water Security: The Water-Food-Energy-Climate Nexus. Washington, DC: Island Press. Available at: Accessed 6 June 2017.
  14. Williams, John. 2014. Annotated Bibliography: Food-Energy-Water. Draft available at:

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Matthew
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations