Manual Security and the Environment: Securitisation Theory and US Environmental Security Policy

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Popular Features. New Releases. Description In the first Clinton administration declared environmental security a national security issue, but by the end of the Bush administrations environmental security had vanished from the government's agenda. This book uses changing US environmental security policy to propose a revised securitisation theory, one that both allows insights into the intentions of key actors and enables moral evaluations in the environmental sector of security.

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Post-structural realism

Security and the Environment brings together the subject of environmental security and the Copenhagen School's securitisation theory. Drawing on original interviews with former key players in United States environmental security, Rita Floyd makes a significant and original contribution to environmental security studies and security studies more generally.

This book will be of interest to international relations scholars and political practitioners concerned with security, as well as students of international environmental politics and US policy-making.

The consequences of climate change are only just being felt and it is fair to say that climate change remains a problem for the future. Politicians in turn are concerned with the here and now and with re-electability.

Stanford Libraries

The use of exceptional measures to deal with a problem most of us have yet to see and experience could cost politicians their own political future. In other words, exceptional measures might in time become part of climate security.

Security from Inside the State

The rise of climate security has meant that environmental security issues are increasingly popular with security studies scholars more generally. Yet many of those that have taken to write about climate change as a security issue would do well to engage more fully with 30 years of environment-security research. Especially given that large parts of the climate security debate are a re-run of the long ranging environmental security debate Floyd: 51ff.

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The latter brings me back to my original point, that environmental security studies holds important insights for climate security. Tellingly the link between violent conflict and environmental change is not nearly as clear as it is often suggested. In popular debate, for example, it has been argued that the Darfur genocide is the first climate war, while it is also often claimed that water wars will be the wars definitive of this century.

Evidence from environmental security studies, however, suggests that qualitative case study analysis may reveal far less than hitherto assumed. In the s environmental conflict research was dominated by case study analysis that has since been heavily criticised on methodological grounds.


Nowadays environment conflict research increasingly takes the form of quantitative analysis, where large data sets on conflict are cross-referenced with environmental indicators, such as availability of freshwater or data on soil composition cf. Deligiannis, forthcoming.

Climate Change as a Driver of Security Policy | SpringerLink

While I do not wish to suggest that qualitative environment conflict research is flawed, that research has been unable to conclusively isolate environmental factors as the drivers of conflict. On that basis alone, it is premature to label the Darfur conflict as a climate war.

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Moreover, a different set of researchers in environmental security studies has shown that despite popular rhetoric inter-state water wars are actually highly unlikely. By utilising case studies from around the globe they have shown that co-operation between conflicting states over resource shortages or shared water basins is if anything more likely MacQuarrie et.

These research findings together with the fact that, as yet, climate change does not constitute an objective existential threat; poses questions about the need for climate security, and also about its value.

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With a view to the latter it is important to realize that securitization can have positive as well as negative consequences. Plus different referent objects give way to wildly different security responses. I have argued elsewhere Floyd, , that a securitization, in any given security sector, is morally right provided that three criteria are fulfilled simultaneously:.

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Considering that thus far climate change does not constitute an objective existential threat, a securitization of climate change — at least here in the West — is morally unjustifiable. However, given the slowness of the international community to act on climate change the above mentioned threshold that would render climate change objectively threatening might be crossed in the not to distant future.

The likelihood of this happening means that we need to think critically through the different forms climate security may take while we also need to evaluate their potential consequences for people everywhere.