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Publication Detail
Climate change and human security: Case studies linking vulnerable populations to increased security risks in the face of the global climate challenge
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Chin-Yee S
  • Publisher:
    King's College London
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    King's College London: EUCERS Strategy Paper
  • Status:
  • Keywords:
    Climate Change, Africa, Human Security, Island States, Threat multiplier, levant, global regimes
Climate change has become ubiquitous in today’s socioeconomic and political discourse, being global in scale, climate impacts across ecosystems that cannot be contained by state boundaries. Actions of one country affect regions on the other side of the world, hence the need for a comprehensive and effective global climate regime. In 2015, the Paris Climate Change Agreement was adopted, and in the ensuing years, countries, along with researchers, civil society and industry have been debating how to implement concrete action to address the climate challenge. The link between climate change and human security was first recognised in the early 2000s. This paper examines how climate change has exacerbated uncertainty and instability in vulnerable populations in different regions. It achieves this by looking at diverse national and local experiences through multiple policy lenses, namely, the proliferation of extreme weather events, coastal erosion and sea level rise, internal displacement, cross border migration, and climate change as a threat multiplier. It looks at specific cases in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific Islands and the Levant to understand how human (in)security is being affected by climate change. It also addresses the future of global climate policy by assessing the current state of climate policies in light of the Paris Agreement. Global action on climate change is urgent. While many developed countries like to avoid notions of climate justice and differentiated responsibilities, the reality for the most vulnerable countries is that supranational policy is crucial if they are to tackle the climate challenge at home. This paper emphasises the importance of having meaningful and focused national climate adaptation and mitigation policies in place in order to address both the avoidable and unavoidable impacts of climate change on the economy, the culture and ultimately the security of a country. This study finds that as climate change plays an increasingly important role in discussions of security, comprehensive strategies are needed to respond to climate-induced security threats and geopolitical (in)stability both nationally and around the world. The Paris Agreement was a good first step in driving countries to commit to curbing emissions and drafting climate adaptation action plans. We now need the global climate regime – including countries, industry, and researchers – to step up to the plate and implement effective policies if we are to limit the serious impacts of climate change. The findings in this paper aims to contribute to the global debate around security and climate change.
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