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Human Security and the Environment

International Comparisons

Edited by Edward A. Page and Michael R. Redclift

In the post-Cold War era, the pre-eminent threats to our security derive from human degradation of vital ecosystems as well as the possibility of war and terrorist attack. This substantial book examines this new ‘security-environment’ paradigm and the way in which the activities of societies are shifting the balance with nature. The distinguished authors investigate this redefinition of security with particular reference to environmental threats such as climate change and the availability of adequate supplies of food and water. They illustrate how unfettered economic growth, rising levels of personal consumption and unsustainable natural resource and energy procurement are taking a heavy toll on the global environment.
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Chapter 5: Climate Change as a Security Issue

International Comparisons

Johannes Stripple


Johannes Stripple 1 INTRODUCTION Climate change has been an issue on the scientific agenda for over 100 years, but has only quite recently become a part of international environmental politics. The implications of global climate change for patterns of international order and disorder have, therefore, yet to be revealed. Scholars have in general regarded climate change as both a source of cooperation and as a source of insecurity. So far, the combination of global climate change and its societal response has not produced any major transition in the patterns of international politics. Instead, the dominant mode of climate cooperation has emerged within the established practices of sovereign states diplomacy and international economic structures. However, there do seem to be signs suggesting that some patterns of world politics are changing as a consequence of international environmental processes. From a scholarly point of view, established building blocks of international relations are currently being reconsidered in the light of global environmental issues. Examples of these ‘green reconsiderations’ are, for example, that international authority is becoming less state-centred and that established institutions, such as sovereignty and territory and their roles as organising principles in the international system, are being rethought (Litfin, 2000; Lipschutz and Conca, 1993; Wapner, 1997; Kuehls, 1996). The concept of international security is another building block that has been rethought in the last decade. The end of the Cold War is often regarded to be the major impetus for the new conceptualisation of security. This new conceptualisation has questioned...

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