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Climate change as the ‘new’ security threat: implications for Africa

Publication date:
O. Brown
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This paper discusses the existence of climate change as a new security threat. It particularly examins the issues with respect to implications for Africa. The authors argue that climate change represents the latest in a series of environmental drivers of human conflict that have been identified in recent decades. This follows others including drought, desertification, land degradation, failing water supplies, deforestation, fisheries depletion, and even ozone depletion. Key points include:

the ‘high politics’ of security may draw attention away from existing development problems that pose more immediate threats to vulnerable societies
the international community needs to ensure that this is not a purely northern-driven agenda and that it does not become perceived as another way for northern interests to interfere in southern affairs
on the positive side, a ‘securitised’ climate debate might be able to marshal sufficiently compelling arguments to encourage the politicians to do something about reducing emissions and investing in adaptation.