Climate change and Human Security.

Topics: Security, Human rights, Human security Pages: 6 (2060 words) Published: March 18, 2014

Climate change and Human Security.
Climate change is increasingly being considered a 'security' problem. However attempting to predict what the international security implications might be of such a global and unprecedented phenomena is incredibly complex. Questions of security issues arising from climate change should be framed in terms of human security. Climate change is an unprecedented threat to the world as such conventional (or state centred)notions of security is ill suited as an approach to combating this threat. Some authors have made predictions of possible traditional security issues arising from climate change. One predominant predictions is conflict induced by large scale climate migration or "climate refugees" (Smith: 2007 & Reuveny 2007). However to conclude that climate change will inevitably cause such security problems like conflict and mass migration is premature and ill founded. These are the challenges that one can see when looking through the lens of traditional or state security if however one looks through the lens of "Human security" the threats posed are much more significant and less complex. The scientific evidence and modelling of environmental impacts of climate change can be observed as directly applying to situations that affect people. International risk assessment firm maplcroft lists Bangladesh as the most vulnerable country in the world to climate change(Akter 2013). Its people will face (and already do) increasingly serious human security issues as a direct result of climate change. Some authors have suggested that climate related displacement and migration in Bangledesh could cause tension and conflict and could possibly extend into neighbouring states of India. This possibility is real however factors affecting migration are complex and the notion of climate change directly causing large scale population movements is contested. Also that migration should not only be seen as a potential source of conflict but also as a key method of adaption to climate change to ensure human security for people at risk. Human security which focuses on individuals rather than states is concerned with the vulnerability or resilience of people to issues which threaten an individual's human rights. Like with human rights there are different opinions on what human security should in practise aim to protect. There are two schools of thought in regards to what threats should be included under human security. The narrow scope "freedom from fear" is concerned with personal security from violence and conflict. The second school of thought encompasses a more holistic approach "freedom from want" and includes other aspects of security including: economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security and political security. Because climate change affects all elements of human security this paper adopts the "freedom from want " definition. Human security in the face of the threats posed by climate change can be understood as " the condition where people and communities have the capacity to manage stresses to their needs, rights, and values " (Hartmann 2010: 234). Climate change is directly undermining the human security of peoples around the world and will increasingly do so. However the negative impacts are often augmented for the impoverished. Despite having contributed the least to climate change in the form of green house gas emissions the world's poorest people will be the most adversely affected victims of climate change. According to Hartman (2010: 233)The vulnerability of people to climate change depends on a number of factors. Firstly the exposure of the environment, that they live in, to climate change and related events(floods, droughts, cyclones) and the existence of infrastructure and its strength. Secondly the extent to which they are reliant on natural resources and ecosystem services. Thirdly the extent to which these resources are...
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