Climate Change and Security: Adapting the Discussion to the Evidence


The linkages between climate change and security are high on the political agenda of international security bodies of the United Nations, the European Union and NATO. Recent scientific evidence shows that climate change will continue to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as the storms and flooding that recently devastated Pakistan and Thailand, and of droughts like that which emaciated millions on the Horn of Africa in 2011. In contrast to the strong scientific support for a direct causal relationship between climate change and individual human security, the relationship between changing environmental conditions and violent conflict remains largely ambiguous and lacks adequate empirical evidence. This Global Governance Institute Briefing Paper argues that policymakers globally should work to address these proven, and urgent, human security implications of climate change, rather than its unclear implications on violent conflict. In this vein, GGI recommends particularly that Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: step up societal adaptation and resilience programs; urgently finalize work on the Green Climate Fund to provide sufficient resources to vulnerable populations in developing countries; and complete and implement National Adaptation Plans in developing countries to ensure financial resources are used effectively.

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