Climate change has the potential to cause radical changes in lifestyle and mass migration as people seek out ever-diminishing resources. The tensions that will accompany such shifts could be profound as communities react to large influxes of newcomers and people struggle to adapt to ever more severe weather events. This in turn could place an ever-increasing burden on national security forces as they seek to maintain stability domestically and with bordering nations. This paper not only explores the social tensions in depth that could arise from climate change but details the possible challenges for national security, the police and the military. For instance domestically the authors assert that there could be demands for greater border security and a need to respond to increasing natural disasters; whilst internationally there could be increased calls for peacetime deployments and pressure to deal with instability in strategically important regions. However the paper contends that at each stage of the ‘process’ – from climate change, to socio-economic impacts, to security consequences – there are opportunities for prevention, mitigation and adaptation. Opportunities predicated on preventative rather than reactive response.
extensive building programmes for flood defences and other natural disaster protection measures
massive and sustained funding and government R&D support allocated to the development of local renewable energy sources and resource conservation projects
international consensus and regional agreements rapidly reached on the status, protection and management of environmental refugees
conflict prevention, sustainable development and foreign aid programmes to take into account the likely effects of climate change and build in a range of adaptation measures.