No longer is climate change just an environmental problem or an energy challenge. In recent years, it has been recognized as a core development challenge that carries potentially serious implications for international peace and security.
Alec Crawford - Climate Change and Conflict
(YouTube Video - 3:49 min)
In recent years, climate change has come to be viewed as a core development challenge that carries potentially serious implications for international peace and security.
Climate change will redraw our coastlines, alter where we can grow food, change where we can find water, expose us to fiercer storms or more severe droughts and likely force large numbers of people to move from their homelands. Climate change will undermine the economic and agricultural base of many countries, particularly the most vulnerable developing countries.
Meanwhile, warming temperatures are changing the strategic balance in the Arctic by opening up new shipping routes and uncovering the oil and gas supplies previously under the ice. Globally, climate change will stress existing mechanisms for sharing resources like transboundary rivers and migratory fish stocks. It is clear that climate change holds the potential to exacerbate existing tensions and even trigger new ones.
IISD's work tries to understand how climate change could affect political and economic stability and to develop effective ways to address those problems. It attempts to cut through the rhetoric with clear analysis of locations of concern, and hopes to add nuance, texture and detail to the debate on the security implications of climate change.
Campaigning rhetoric or bleak reality? Just how serious a security challenge is climate change for Africa? (PDF - 450 KB)
» Oli Brown, IISD, 2010 This article addresses the threats posed by climate change for peace and stability in Africa. It was written for the Heinrich Böll Foundation's book Climate Change, Resources, Migration: Securing Africa in an uncertain climate.
Rising Temperatures, Rising Tensions: Climate change and the risk of violent conflict in the Middle East
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, IISD, 2009 This report examines whether the legacy of conflict in the Levant undermines the ability of the region to adapt to climate change, outlines the threats that climate change could pose to regional security, and suggests strategies that can be pursued for peace and sustainable development despite a changing climate.
Battling the Elements: The security threat of climate change
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, IISD, 2009 This commentary lays out the extent of the security challenge of climate change and argues that if we are aware of the potential threats, then we are in a better position to prevent them.
Give Peace (and the Climate) a Chance
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, IISD, 2009 This commentary discusses the threat to political stability in the Middle East and underlines why the climate talks in Copenhagen in December must conclude with a deal on climate change.
Climate Change and Conflict: Lessons from community conservancies in northern Kenya
» Ivan Campbell, Sarah Dalrymple, Rob Craig, Alec Crawford, Saferworld, CDC, IISD, 2009 This report, based on the findings of research carried out in two community wildlife conservancies in northern Kenya, illustrates how climate change is affecting the distribution and prevalence of natural resources in Kenya, but makes it clear that this is not the only factor contributing to resource scarcity.
A Recurring Anarchy? The emergence of climate change as a threat to international peace and security
» Oli Brown, Robert McLeman, Routledge, 2009 In his milestone 1994 article, "The Coming Anarchy," Robert Kaplan predicted that environmental change would push West Africa into pervasive conflict. This article returns to West Africa to see to what extent Kaplan's predictions have come to pass.
Climate Change and Security in Africa
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, IISD, 2009 In this report, prepared for the Nordic-African Foreign Ministers Forum in Copenhagen in March 2009, IISD examines the threats that climate change could pose to security for Africa, as well as strategies for peace and development in a changing climate.
Arctic Sovereignty and Security in a Climate-changing World
» Alec Crawford, Art Hanson, David Runnalls, IISD, 2008 This short report focuses on the important northern issues on which Canada should be focusing, beyond those currently grabbing the headlines.
Climate Change: A new threat to stability in West Africa? Evidence from Ghana and Burkina Faso
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, Institute for Security Studies, 2008 In this article for the September 2008 edition of the African Security Review, Oli Brown and Alec Crawford draw on their fieldwork in Ghana and Burkina Faso to see to what extent the links that have been hypothesized reflect a realistic future for two different countries in West Africa as the impacts of climate change gather pace.
The Security Dimensions of Environmental Policy: Canadian defence policy changes along with climate in the suddenly accessible Far North
» Alec Crawford, Toronto Star, 2008 This Toronto Star op-ed discusses how Canada's Arctic sovereignty and security are increasingly being shaped by climate change and the resulting reduction of sea ice.
Environmental Change and the New Security Agenda: Implications for Canada’s security and environment
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, Christine Campeau, IISD, 2008 This paper investigates how environmental change and Canadian security are interlinked, assessing both the environmental implications of what we call “the new security agenda” and Canada's current national security focus on the prevention of terrorism.
Migration and Climate Change
» Oli Brown, International Organization for Migration, 2008 This short book analyzes the prospect of large-scale forced migration as a result of climate change and attempts to estimate the developmental impact of potentially millions of people displaced by coastal flooding, extreme weather events and agricultural disruption.
Assessing the Security Implications of Climate Change for West Africa: Country case studies of Ghana and Burkina Faso
» Oli Brown, Alec Crawford, IISD, 2008 Our research in this area investigates the country-level impacts of climate change on security in West Africa. The final report sets out scenarios for the future security implications of climate change, as well as identifying particular “flash point” issues that domestic authorities and external actors should bear in mind when designing development programs.
Weather of Mass Destruction? The rise of climate change as the “new” security issue
» Oli Brown, IISD, 2007 This commentary assesses the risks and opportunities of a securitized debate on climate change.
Climate Change as the “New” Security Threat: Implications for Africa
» Oli Brown, Anne Hammill, Robert Mcleman, International Affairs, 2007 This article for the journal International Affairs charts the dimensions of the climate security challenge in Africa and analyzes the role of adaptation policies in future conflict prevention.
Climate Change and Forced Migration: Observations, projections and implications
» Oli Brown, United Nations Development Programme, 2007 This paper was written as a thematic paper for the 2007/2008 Human Development Report of the UNDP, "Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World.” It investigates the differing projections for forced migration over the next 50 years, discusses the problem of prediction and analyzes the development implications of large-scale migration.
Climate Change and Foreign Policy: An exploration of options for greater integration
» John Drexhage, Deborah Murphy, Oli Brown, Aaron Cosbey, Peter Dickey, Jo-Ellen Parry, John Van Ham, Richard Tarasofsky, Beverley Darkin, IISD, 2007 This study examines opportunities for a broader framing of the climate change issue in a number of foreign policy areas of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark: diplomacy and international relations; energy security; peace and security; trade and investment; and development cooperation.