Preparing the French military to a warming world: climatization through riskification

Abstract

This article studies the process of climatization of the French military initiated with the 21st Conference of the Parties in 2015 through an analysis of the discourses produced by military actors on climate change. I will argue that there are two ways in which the climatization of the military discourse operates. First, it leads to a reframing of existing security narratives such as migrations or armed conflicts through a climatic lens, which creates a sense of urgency and intensity. Second, the climatization of the military discourse is mediated by a riskification of climate change, through the adoption of a risk-based approach to prevent its security implications. It creates a sense of uncertainty and leads to the climatization of a growing number of security issues such as terrorism or illegal fisheries. Both processes contribute to legitimize military solutions in global climate governance and expand the scope of intervention of the armed forces.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Personal interview conducted with a civil servant of the DGRIS in Paris (March 1, 2019).

  2. 2.

    Personal interview conducted with a civil servant of the DGRIS in Paris (July 3, 2018).

  3. 3.

    Personal interview conducted with a civil servant of the DGRIS in Paris (November 23, 2018).

  4. 4.

    These data are based on the analysis of the Observatory’s website (https://www.defense.gouv.fr/dgris/recherche-et-prospective/observatoires/observatoire-geopolitique-des-enjeux-des-changements-climatiques) and interviews conducted with its coordinators.

  5. 5.

    Personal interview conducted with a civil servant of the DGRIS in Paris (July 3, 2018).

  6. 6.

    Personal interview conducted with a military officer of the DGRIS in Paris (October 10, 2018).

  7. 7.

    Personal interview conducted with a military officer of the DGRIS in Paris (September 28, 2018).

  8. 8.

    Personal interview conducted with a civil servant of the DGRIS in Paris (July 8, 2018).

  9. 9.

    Personal interview conducted with an expert of the Observatory in Paris (December 8, 2018).

  10. 10.

    Personal interview conducted with a military officer of the General Staff (October 24, 2018).

  11. 11.

    Personal interview conducted with a military officer of the General Staff (November 12, 2018).

  12. 12.

    Personal interview conducted with a civil servant of the DGRIS in Paris (July 3, 2018).

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Estève, A. Preparing the French military to a warming world: climatization through riskification. Int Polit (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41311-020-00248-2

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Military
  • France
  • Climatization
  • Riskification