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Climate Change And Environmental Security

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  • 1. Climate Change and Environmental Security: Bringing Realism Back In Josh Gellers PhD Student, Political Science University of California, Irvine Photo: A. Ishokon (UNEP)
  • 2. Themes
    • 1) Reconcile realism with environmental security
    • 2) Develop theoretical basis for designating climate change as a security issue
    • 3) Encourage reconceptualization and condensation of “environmental security”
  • 3. Research Question
    • Question: Is realism incompatible with environmental security?
    • Argument: Realism can accommodate environmental security by expanding causal linkages
    Conflict Civil Unrest Economic Downturn Reduced Crop Yield Climate Change
  • 4. Conceptual Underpinnings
    • “ Redefining Security” or “Securitizing the Environment”
    • 1) Political Economy of the Environment
      • Mathews (1989), Kahl (2005)
    • 2) Resource Scarcity
      • Homer-Dixon (1994), Maxwell & Reuveny (2000)
    • 3) Human Security
      • Ogata & Cels (2003), Paris (2001)
  • 5. Existing Typologies
    • Direct v. Indirect Threats (Levy 1995)
      • Direct: Skin cancer from ozone depletion
      • Indirect: Global biodiversity loss
    • Territorial v. Extraterritorial Risks (Busby 2008)
      • Territorial: Climate change-induced drought
      • Extraterritorial: Sea level rise overtaking foreign military installations
  • 6. Realist Applications
    • 1) Political Economy of the Environment
      • Ex: Climate change affects agricultural output
      • Defensive realism
    • 2) Resource Scarcity
      • Ex: Climate change causes water shortage
      • Offensive realism
    • 3) Human Security
      • Ex: Climate change-induced sea level rise creates environmental refugees
      • Defensive and offensive realism
  • 7. Research Directions
    • Develop a comprehensive policy approach to conceptualizing environment-security relationship
      • Example: Drought in West Africa Caused by Climate Change and Its U.S. Impacts
        • Direct v. Indirect: Indirect
        • Territorial v. Extraterritorial: Extraterritorial
        • Source of Threat: Foreign Destabilization
        • Threat Severity: Low/Medium
        • Threat Imminence: Likely (20-year time horizon)
        • Sectors/Groups Impacted: Farmers, Agriculture, Government
        • Mitigating Resources: Foreign Assistance (USAID)
        • Environmental Linkage: Drought  Refugees  Political Stress in Nearby State  Institutional Destabilization  Terrorist Group Opportunism  Increased Terrorist Activities
  • 8. Research Directions
    • Disentangle current categorizations
    = Human Security Environmental Security
  • 9. Questions?