An examination of climate change and human security debates in and about Africa raises questions about representation and the politics of knowledge. Africa, as a continent, holds a special place in debates about climate change and human security: if human security is understood as living a life of dignity, enjoying freedom from want and freedom from fear, then it is in Africa that global climate change is seen as most likely to compromise personal and human security. There, ‘unfreedom’ from want and ‘unfreedom’ from fear are commonly seen as connected in a vicious circle of violence and destitution. In IPCC and other documents, Africa is held up as the continent that is least responsible for climate change, but is likely to feel the worst of its impacts. High levels of poverty, environmental degradation, weak governance and dependence on natural resources in Africa mean that climate change is seen as likely to devastate livelihoods that are already vulnerable (Boko et al. 2007).
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