Climate Security as a Framework for Climate Policy and Governance

  • Mohamed BehnassiEmail author


There is growing evidence that the impacts of climate change have the potential to trigger or amplify many risks and vulnerabilities with the possibility of increasing the likelihood of tensionsand conflicts in many fragile countries. This may also undermine the ability ofsomegovernmentsto provide the conditions necessary for human security. Such evidence has recently pushed numerous actors from political, academic and public spheres toward framing climate change as a security issue due to the perceived advantages of establishing such a link. In line with this trend, this introductory chapter aims to address the linkages between climate change and its multiple security implications and the different benefits of mainstreaming climate security in key responses to global warming. After presenting the key economic, human, and geopolitical impacts of climate change and their security implications, this chapter discusses the extent to which these impacts are currently well-managed. Following this, the usefulness of ‘climate security’ as a framework for improvingclimate change policy and governance is examined. The analysis leads to the conclusion that if we underestimate climate-security concerns, new security challenges – in addition to existing challenges –are to be expected and must be appropriately managed. Therefore, a climate security framework can help to adopt preventive and security-sensitive responses to climate risks, thus creating a new dynamic within climate policy and governance.


Climate change Human security Governance Securitization Conflict 


  1. Adger, W. N., Pulhin, J. M., Barnett, J., Dabelko, G. D., Hovelsrud, G. K., Levy, M., Oswald Spring, Ú., & Vogel, C. H. (2014). Human security. In C. B. Field, V. R. Barros, D. J. Dokken, K. J. Mach, M. D. Mastrandrea, T. E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K. L. Ebi, Y. O. Estrada, R. C. Genova, B. Girma, E. S. Kissel, A. N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P. R. Mastrandrea, & L. L. White (Eds.), Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: Global and sectoral aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 755–791). Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Behnassi, M., & Yaya, S. (2011). Food crisis mitigation: The need for a global food and agriculture governance. In M. Behnassi, S. Draggan, & S. Yaya (Eds.), Global food insecurity: Rethinking agricultural and rural development paradigm and policy (pp. 93–125). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beniston, M. (2010, September). Climate change and its impacts: Growing stress factors for human societies. International Review of the Red Cross, 92(879), 557–568.Google Scholar
  4. Brauch, H. G. (2009). Securitizing global environmental change. In H. G. Brauch, Ú. Oswald Spring, J. Grin, C. Mesjasz, P. Kameri-Mbote, N. C. Behera, B. Chourou, & H. Krummenacher (Eds.), Facing global environmental change: Environmental, human, energy, food, health and water security concepts (Hexagon series on human and environmental security and peace, Vol. 4). Berlin/Heidelberg/New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brauch, H. G. (2010). Climate change and Mediterranean security – International, national, environmental and human security impacts for the Euro-Mediterranean region During the 21st century: Proposals and perspectives, PapersIEMed, European Institute of the Mediterranean Coordination, at:
  6. Brito, R. R. De. (2011). A climate for conflict or cooperation? Addressing the securitisation of climate change. Paper prepared for the third global international studies conference, 17–20 August 2011, University of Porto, Portugal.Google Scholar
  7. Brock, H. (2012). Climate change: Drivers of insecurity and the global South. Oxford Research Group.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, O., et al. (2007). Climate change as the ‘New’ security threat: Implications for Africa. International Affairs, 83(6), 1141–1154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buzan, B., Waever, O., & de Wilde, J. (1998). Security: A new framework for analysis. Boulder/London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Campbell, I. (2010). Climate change and conflict. London: Saferworld.Google Scholar
  11. Center for Climate and Security. (2012). “Climate security 101”. Available at accessed on 24 Sept 2016.Google Scholar
  12. Center for Climate & Security. (2015). Climate security 101.
  13. Council of the European Union. (2009, November 25). Joint progress report and follow-up recommendations on climate change and international security (CCIS) to the Council. Brussels.Google Scholar
  14. de Sherbinin, A. (2013, March). Climate change hotspots mapping: What have we learned? Climatic Change, 123(1), 23–37.Google Scholar
  15. de Ville, G., & Kingham, R. A. (2011). Recent trends in EU external action in the field of climate, environment, development and security. Report for the European Space Agency.Google Scholar
  16. Detraz, N., & Betsill, M. M. (2009). Climate change and environmental security: For whom the discourse shifts. International Studies Perspectives, 10(3), 303–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean [ECLAC]. (2009). La Economía del Cambio Climático en América Latina y el Caribe, Santiago.Google Scholar
  18. FAO, IFAD and WFP. (2015). The state of food insecurity in the world. Meeting the 2015 international hunger targets: Taking stock of uneven progress. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  19. Friel, S., Bowen, K., Campbell-Lendrum, D., Frumkin, H., McMichael, A. J., & Rasanathan, K. (2011). Climate change, noncommunicable diseases, and development: The relationships and common policy opportunities. Annual Review of Public Health, 32, 133–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gambari, I. (2011, June 27). Sudan: Water for peace in Darfur. Daily Trust.
  21. High Representative for CFSP and the European Commission. (2008). Climate change and international security – Paper from the High Representative and the European Commission to the European Council. Brussels.
  22. Honig, S. (2011, June 15). Climate change and statelessness: When does a state disappear? Climatico.
  23. IPCC. (2007). Summary for policymakers. Working group II climate change 2007: Climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Geneva: IPCC.Google Scholar
  24. IPCC. (2012). Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. Special report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Juma, M. (2010). Security and regional cooperation in Africa: How can we make Africa’s security architecture fit for the new challenges. In Heinrich Böll Foundation, climate change resources migration: Securing Africa in an uncertain climate (pp. 16–25). Cape Town: Heinrich Böll Foundation Southern Africa.Google Scholar
  26. Mabey, N., Gulledge, J., Finel, B., & Silverthorne, K. (2011). Degrees of risk – Defining a risk management framework for climate security, at:
  27. Mearns, R. & Norton, A. (2010). Social dimensions of climate change: Equity and vulnerability in a warming world. World Bank, at:
  28. Mills, J. N., Gage, K. L., & Khan, A. S. (2010, November). Potential influence of climate change on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases: A review and proposed research plan. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(11), 1507–1514.Google Scholar
  29. Ministry of the Environment of Japan. (2007). Report on climate security. Sub-Committee on International Climate Change Strategy Global Environment Committee, Central Environment Council, at:
  30. Pacific Institute of Public Policy. (2012). Climate security: A holistic approach to climate change, security and development. Discussion paper 23.
  31. Pan African Climate Justice Alliance [PACJA]. (2009). The economic cost of climate change in Africa. Nairobi: Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.Google Scholar
  32. Patz, J. A., Githeko, A. K., McCarty, J. P., Hussein, S., Confalonieri, U., & de Wet, N. (2003). Climate change and infectious diseases. In A. J. McMichael et al. (Eds.), Climate change and human health: Risks and responses. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  33. Piguet, E. (2011). The migration/climate change nexus: An assessment. Paper presented in the international conference “Rethinking Migration: Climate, Resource Conflicts and Migration in Europe”, 13–14 October, available at: Accessed on 4 Aug 2015.
  34. Rogers, P. (2009). Global security after the war on terror. London: Oxford Research Group.Google Scholar
  35. Rogers, W. (2012). The role of natural resources in the South China Sea. In P. M. Cronin, & Center for a New American Security (Eds.), Cooperation from strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea. Washington, DC: Center for a New American Security.
  36. Shanin, M. (2009). Interrelation between climate change and trade negotiations. In M. K. Tolba & N. Saab (Eds.), Arab environment, climate change: Impact of climate change on Arab countries (Arab Forum for environment and development 2009 report, pp. 143–150). Beirut: Arab Forum for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
  37. Shuman, E. K. (2011, January). Global climate change and infectious diseases. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2(1), 11–19.Google Scholar
  38. Stern, N. (2007). The economics of climate change: The Stern review. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 500 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Trombetta, M. J. (2008). Environmental security and climate change: Analysing the discourse. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 21(4), 585–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. United Nations Security Council. (2011, July 20). Statement by the President of the Security Council. New York.
  41. Warner, K. (2011). Climate and environmental change, human migration and displacement: Recent policy developments and research gaps. Bonn: Institute for Environment and Human Security, United Nations University.Google Scholar
  42. WBGU. (2008). World in transition: Climate change as a security risk. London: Earthscan, at:
  43. Werrell, C. E., & Francesco, F. (2013). The Arab spring and climate change, a climate and security correlations series. Washington, DC: The Center for Climate Security and the Center for American Progress.Google Scholar
  44. World Economic Forum. (2015). Global risks 2015 (10th edn).
  45. World Health Organization or the World Meteorological Organization. (2012). Atlas of health and climate, at:

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Laboratory for Territorial Governance, Human Security and Sustainability (LAGOS), Faculty of Law, Economics and Social SciencesIbn Zohr University of AgadirAgadirMorocco
  2. 2.Center for Research on Environment, Human Security and Governance (CERES)AgadirMorocco

Personalised recommendations