Securitizing Climate Change: How to Not Think about the Climate Crisis

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Pakistani women wade through floodwaters as they take refuge in Shikarpur district of Sindh Province, of Pakistan, Friday, Sep. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

In the Global North, “climate security” has become a dominant frame for thinking—and not thinking—about the climate crisis.

The framing assumes that climate change will disrupt weather and environmental systems, putting pressure on economic and social systems as well as natural resources, leading to large-scale displacement; all of this is expected to create instability, to worsen tensions and create new ones, and to increase the threat of violent conflicts. Though views within this framing rarely claim that climate change is the sole cause of conflict, they often see climate change as ushering in “an era of persistent conflict… a security environment much more ambiguous and unpredictable than that faced during…

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