Chapter 16: Security dimensions of climate change adaptation
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Climate change threatens core dimensions of human security, including economic stability and food production. More discussed impacts of climate change entail diverse security risks, ranging from geopolitical tensions between countries to local armed conflict. Due to the potentially wide-spread and complex impacts of climate change on security matters, political concern along with scientific and security interests in the topic have been rising during the last decades. This has resulted in a maturing body of academic literature, feeding into a limited number of decision-making processes by intergovernmental institutions, including the UN Security Council. Efforts to adapt to climate change come with its own security challenges, since power balances can shift, creating or reinforcing existing tensions within and between countries. Although these dynamics are increasingly acknowledged, also in some National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) there are currently no international (legal) governance mechanisms that address the risks that can come with climate adaptation. The relation between climate adaptation and conflict is two-directional, since on the one hand, the outbreak of armed conflict can set back progress in climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. On the other hand, climate adaptation could increasingly play a role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts in regions highly vulnerable to both conflict and climate change.