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Oct 26, 2017

Weaponizing the Weather? - The Implications of Treating Climate Change as a Security Issue

Analysis by Diana Szőke


Anthropogenic climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. It will have profound changes not just on our natural environment, but also on human societies. In recent years, the academic community, political decision-makers and even the public is becoming more aware of the potential security connotations of global warming, which include existential threats to small island states, conflicts over vital natural resources (i.e. food, water, arable land), geostrategic rivalries and waves of climate refugees. Using the theoretical framework of securitization, this policy brief highlights some of the main dilemmas surrounding the framing of climate change as a security issue. It argues that while climate change clearly presents substantial security risks, traditional concepts of causality and of “hard security,” along with predominantly military-centered thinking are obsolete and of limited use in this regard. Instead, a truly comprehensive global response to climaterelated security concerns must adopt new ways of thinking about this fascinating and complex issue.

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