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The Geopolitics of Climate Change: Challenges to the International System image

The Geopolitics of Climate Change: Challenges to the International System

This report analyses the consequences of climate change and global warming for international politics in general and international security in particular. The report focuses on whether and in what way climate change may alter the conditions of international security. From this perspective, the initial effects of climate change will vary according to existing economic, political and social structures in different world regions. Organised violence is more likely in regions with weak states and conflictual inter-state dynamics than in those characterized by co-operative relations. In the short- to medium term, climate change is unlikely to alter the constitutive structures of international security.

However, depending on the severity of climate change, these conditions may change over the long term. Such changes will probably depend on the secondary effects that change has on the world and regional economies. Climate change is unlikely to lead to an increase in conflicts in the short- to medium term, but a long-term development marked by unmitigated climate change could very well have serious consequences for international security. The report argues that, although necessary, mitigation and adaptation measures may have consequences for international politics. These are due to the changes in social and political systems that they entail.

Keywords: climate change, international security, environmental security, systems theory, Luhmann

Publication website ( PDF - www.envirosecurity.org )

Author(s)Peter Hald
PublisherFOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency
Place publishedStockholm
Date / Journal Vol No.December 2007
Pages172
 
 

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