Human-induced climate change is causing resource scarcities, natural disasters, and mass migrations, which in turn destabilize national, international, and human security structures and multiply the human inputs to climate change.
The strategic U.S. military base on the Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia faces submergence by rising sea level. Himalayan glaciers are shrinking, cutting the flow of the critical rivers shared by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China and exacerbating military tensions. Changing rainfall patterns in Africa and the Middle East are driving drought, famine, disease, ethnic conflict, national destabilization, radicalism, and international terrorism.
Alarms about the expanding role of climate change as a force multiplier of existing threats to national, international, and human security structures studies are being raised at all levels of governance and intelligence—national (including the U.S. Senate, the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Pentagon), transnational (including the European Union and the United Nations), and private (such as the Central News Agency and the American Security Project). Climate Change and Security: A Gathering Storm of Global Challenges focuses on the three major feedback effects of human-induced climate change on human and international security—resource scarcity, natural disasters, and sea-level rise.
Decreasing per capita availability of renewable resources due to such regional effects of climate change as drought and desertification leads to intensified competition for these resources and may result in armed violence—especially when compounded by conditions of rapid population growth, tribalism, and sectarianism, as in Darfur and Somalia. The increase in the frequency and intensity of meteorological disasters associated with global warming weakens already debilitated tropical societies and makes them still more vulnerable to political instability, as in Haiti. Sea-level rise will lead to disruptive mass migrations of climate refugees as dense littoral populations are forced to abandon low-lying coastal regions, as in Bangladesh.
• Presents tables and figures
• A bibliography at the end of each chapter
• Underscores that the risks posed by climate change are not just of a humanitarian nature, but also include political and security risks
• Shows how climate change threatens to overburden states and regions that are already fragile and conflict-prone
• Explains how disasters and scarcities caused by regional climate change lead to intensified competition that may result in armed violence
• Proposes a new environmental security agenda for the 21st century