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The Political Consequences of Climate Change

Over the medium term, climate change and security are not likely to involve simple causality and a stark, one-to-one correspondence. The more intangible third-order socio-political and institutional effects have not been fully appreciated. Only by adding in an accounting of these indirect effects can a full evaluation of global climate change and appropriate responses be made. The scale and scope of remedial actions needs to be commensurate with the problem. Even mitigation strategies well beyond ones that can be imagined now would still leave the world warming for decades. As a result, thinking about the security implications of global warming means thinking about how groups, nations and institutions adapt to the fact of climate change. The climate dimension needs to be integral to all policy considerations from foreign aid, nation building and border controls, to food and energy security, technology transfer and trade policy, international law, and multilateral diplomacy. Not to recognise the climate angle behind a range of critical issues in security policy will put prospective policy actions at risk of failure.

Author(s)Paul F. Herman Jr and Gregory Treverton
Place published
Date / Journal Vol No.April 2009 / Issue n.2
Pages137 - 148



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