Rethinking climate change, conflict and security

I’ve been working away on a presentation that will – eventually! – turn into an essay on the militarization of nature and the nature(s) of war, and I stumbled across a conference on Rethinking climate change, conflict and security at the ever-creative University of Sussex next month (18-19 October 2012).  Speakers include Halvard BuhaugSimon Dalby and Mike Hume.

What are the conflict and security implications of global climate change? This question has received widespread attention from policy makers in recent years, with most concluding that climate change will in all likelihood become a significant ‘threat multiplier’ to existing patterns of insecurity and discord.  Academic debate has tended to be more divided, yet despite differences in emphasis a common set of assumptions have come to dominate contemporary academic and policy discourse on climate change and security.

The guiding premise of this two-day international conference at the University of Sussex is that current academic and policy discourse on climate change, conflict and security is framed too narrowly and would benefit from both broadening and critique. Featuring many of the leading scholars of the links between climate change and security, the conference will both set out some of the most recent findings on likely conflict impacts and contest a range of prevailing orthodoxies. It will include a mix of case study and theoretical analyses, including panels on:

  • Theories of climate change and conflict
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Critical discourse analysis and climate security
  • The links between water scarcities, climate change and conflict
  • Migration
  • Case studies from the Arctic to Pakistan
  • Peacemaking, cooperation and climate change

The conference will also feature two keynote addresses, plus a roundtable event featuring leading policymakers in the area of climate security.

Full details here.  Register by 9 October 2012.

I’ll post my preliminary notes for the presentation shortly – though, far from short, I fear they are running away with me…

3 thoughts on “Rethinking climate change, conflict and security

  1. Hello and thank you for this article. So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmentally displaced people.

    According to Norman Myers environmental refugees are “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty”.

  2. Thanks Jeremy. The US military and “other government agencies” have been investing in the militarization/securitization of climate change for some time.

    There’s been a slew of climate change workshops sponsored by the Pentagon, for example, and in 2011 its Defense Science Board Task Force reported on Trends and Implications of Climate Change for International and National Security.

    I’ll try to address this in the follow-up post I’ve promised — mid-way through it now….!

  3. I’d also like to know more about the CIA Climate Change and National Security Center. It was founded in 2009 but has said (in response to a FOIA) that all its research is classified.

    Then there’s the World-Wide Human Geography Data working group (WWHGD) which held a conference earlier this year on climate change and security. It is a joint venture between the NGA, Department of State and USGS.

    “This meeting was designed to build voluntary partnerships around human geography data and mapping focused on the general principle of making appropriate information available to promote human security.”

    See here (login req’d):

    There’s a list of speakers and briefings.

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