A growing focus on national and international security challenges posed by climate change could detract attention from the root causes of the problem, the needs of the most vulnerable people and the search for appropriate solutions.
Corinne Schoch, a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development explains why in an opinion paper published today (6 October), as ongoing UN climate-change negotiations in Panama reach their mid-point.
Schoch says a growing focus on security could lead to top-down responses to climate change that marginalise the most vulnerable people and sideline the existing institutions that are best suited to meeting these people’s needs.
Security institutions – from the UN Security Council to national militaries – are increasingly looking at the potential for climate change to spark conflict. Schoch’s paper examines why this is happening and what the implications of this trend could be.
“The focus on climate change and conflict implies an overly simple chain of cause and effect,” says Schoch. “The potential link between climate change and conflict may be real but the truth is that we have insufficient evidence to draw strong conclusions and there is a danger in extrapolating from the local to the global.”
“This could create top-down responses that focus on security in a very limited sense of the word and ignore both the causes of climate change and the best ways to limit its impacts on vulnerable communities.”
The full paper is attached as a PDF and will be published online on www.iied.org on Thursday 6 October.
You can also click the link IIEDsecurity_climate_change to download the paper.
For interviews, contact: Corinne Schoch (firstname.lastname@example.org)