Climate change is one of the most pressing political issues of our time. The unprecedented nature and scale of its impacts on people, economies and ecosystems worldwide are becoming clearer as science advances. One critical dimension of these impacts is their effect on international peace and security.
Yet to date, the knowledge base on climate and security has remained dispersed and patchy, leaving policy makers unclear about how to grapple with this urgent issue. This new report synthesises and contextualises the existing scientific evidence to set out ten insights, which brief policymakers on the current knowledge of security risks related to climate change.
The implication of these insights is that, if we do not act swiftly, climate change will mean more fragility, less peace and less security.
The ten insights range from the peace and security implications of climate impacts on livelihoods and human mobility, to the unintended consequences of poorly designed climate and security policies themselves.
- The risks that climate change impacts pose to international peace and security are real and present
- Climate change impacts affect competition and conflict over natural resources such as land and water
- Climate change impacts undermine livelihoods, affect human mobility, and push people into illegal coping mechanisms
- Climate change impacts contribute to extreme food price spikes and food insecurity
- Extreme weather events challenge government effectiveness and legitimacy
- The unintended consequences of poorly designed climate and security policies carry their own risks
- Climate-related security risks are particularly significant where governance mechanisms are weak or failing
- We are very likely underestimating the scale and scope of climate-related security risks
- Climate-related security risks will increase and multiply in the future
- Our capacities to assess and manage climate-related security risks lag behind the changing risk landscape