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Security and Conflict: The Impact of Climate Change

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Climate Change and Human Well-Being

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Abstract

The connection between climate change and security is now increasingly recognized as a legitimate cause for concern whether the implications are for military security (CNA Corporation, 2007), energy security (Paskal, 2009), or ecological security (Pirages & De Geest, 2003). The United Nations Security Council held its first debate on climate change in April 2007, stating that “an unstable climate will exacerbate some of the core drivers of conflict, such as migratory pressures and competition for resources’ (United Nations Security Council, 2007). Similarly, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has referred to climate change as a ‘threat to peace and security’ (opening address on 15 November 2006 to the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Nairobi). In April 2007, high-ranking retired US generals published a report terming climate change a serious threat to the security of the USA that will promote extremism and terrorism, especially in unstable regions (CNA Corporation, 2007). This has been followed by official warnings from the US Department of Defense’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and 2010 US State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which both identified climate and other environmental changes as strategic security risks. However, others have been more cautious in drawing conclusions, pointing out that the links between climate change and security are complex and that various other factors that can make regions more vulnerable should be taken into account (Salahyan, 2008). This chapter will lay out the new concepts of security being developed in the USA and other countries and examine some potential security impacts and possible solutions, drawing on literature on environmental science, political science, sociology, and social psychology.

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Briggs, C.M., Weissbecker, I. (2011). Security and Conflict: The Impact of Climate Change. In: Weissbecker, I. (eds) Climate Change and Human Well-Being. International and Cultural Psychology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9742-5_6

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