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Climate and International Security

Humans are changing the climate and that impacts on society will be complex and challenging. While regional impacts will vary, global climate change will potentially alter agricultural productivity, freshwater availability and quality, access to vital minerals, coastal and island flooding, and more. Among the consequences of these impacts will be challenges to political relationships, realignment of energy markets and regional economies, and threats to security. There is debate about the extent to which resource constraints or environmental problems alone can lead to conflict. However, it is widely acknowledged that resource constraints can lead to economic pressures and tensions or as triggers to conflicts when other tensions exist between states or political actors. These challenges, together with the long history of political frictions and disputes worsened by environmental stresses, suggests that global climatic changes have the potential to exacerbate international and subnational tensions and conflicts.

The Pacific Institute has long considered these risks and published a series of analyses of the relationship between climate and security beginning in the late 1980s (see right).

In an ongoing effort to understand the connections between climate change and international security, the Pacific Institute will continue to publish and analyze the links between climate and conflict.

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“The Implications of Global Climatic Changes for International Security” (testimony) (PDF)

Global Climatic Change and International Security (paper) (PDF)

Climate Change and International Politics: Problems Facing Developing Countries (paper) (PDF)

The Implications of Global Climatic Changes for International Security (paper) (PDF)


Water and Conflict

More about the Environment and Security program