Age of Changes: Threat of Climate Change and Its Meaning for Security

  • Salla Kalliojärvi


Climate change has been increasingly defined as a threat to the security of a wide range of referent objects from individual to the planet and humanity as a whole. Climate change is often seen as the macro-driver of a wide range of other threats that are accelerated by the extent of which the climate continues to change. By adding pressure on the institutional capacities of states, decreasing the quality, quantity and access to vital natural resources, and by triggering large scale migratory movements, climate change is assumed to increasingly foment instability and conflicts, which in turn are seen to deteriorate global sustainable development that forms the very heart of mitigation and adaptation efforts. Regardless of this growing and often alarmist security framing of climate change, ambitious and effective climate policies are still lacking. Traditionally security is conceived as a matter of high politics that is associated with the core values and survival of the state and the legitimization of emergency measures. Military force or balance of power politics and containment have long been seen as the most crucial ways to control insecurity. The threat of climate change is characterized with a new kind of uncertainty and complexity that cannot be successfully secured against through military power and containment. Building on poststructuralist theories, this chapter theoretically analyses how the meaning of security is constructed through hegemonic struggle, and how the interpretations of climate change as a threat or a multiplier of threats affect the understanding of security.


Climate change Security politics Environmental security Critical security studies Poststructuralism The United Nations Security Council 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salla Kalliojärvi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LaplandRovaniemiFinland

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