The Securitization of Climate Change: A Developmental Perspective
Ever since climate change was discussed at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2007, the labelling of climate change as a security threat has proliferated. A growing body of literature champions this perspective (CNA 2007; Schwartz and Randall 2003). It stems largely from the United States, but more recently also from Europe and multilateral bodies such as the G7, and is heavily influenced by the politics and ‘speech acts’ of prominent leaders (see Romm 2011). Academic analysis of the ‘securitization’ of climate change has also emerged but falls short of moving beyond the realm of narrative. Nor has it considered the implications of a securitized climate change on foreign aid policies, programming priorities and fund allocation. This chapter seeks to fill this gap by analysing the example of the United Kingdom (UK). It demonstrates that climate change has become ‘securitized’ in some policy circles, if understood to mean the (re)framing of climate change from an environmental and/or developmental issue to a matter of security. However, full securitization has not occurred in the UK, if this is understood to mean treating climate change as an ‘existential threat’, widespread acceptance of this framing, and enacting ‘emergency action’ to deal with the threat (Buzan et al. 1997). Abrahamsen’s (2005: 59) conceptualization of securitization is particularly useful for understanding security framings of climate change: best understood as a gradual process through which political choices are made to conceptualize an issue in a particular way.
KeywordsClimate Change Security Council United Nations Security Council Security Implication National Security Council
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