Climate change is widely recognized as a “threat multiplier.” From the United Nations to the G7 to the US Department of Defense, there is emerging consensus that climate change poses risks to both human and natural security through a variety of complex and interrelated channels. The extent of those risks, and how they connect to armed conflict, however, remain widely debated.
This image breaks down what percentage of CO2 emissions were produced by the top ten producing countries and how they compared to the rest of the world in 2017. To find out about the impact of climate change in Russia as well as debate on the issue in the country, see Russian Analytical Digest 243 ‘Climate Change and Russia‘.
The security implications of climate change have increasingly been debated in the United Nations Security Council. Yet, there is a growing concern by many UN member states about the lack of adequate responses to the risks that climate change poses to peace and security. In recent years, some modest but notable changes at the UN have taken place, of which the creation of the Climate Security Mechanism is the primary example.
There are no shortages of statistics and data on the increasing rapidity with which our climate is changing, or on its effects. While rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, and extremes in temperature are well-chronicled, the cascading impacts that a transformed climate will have on global peace and security are less clearly understood. This is all the more important since the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide frameworks for addressing climate change for the international community, yet stop short of including peace and security. In light of its mandate, the extent to which the United Nations Security Council can or should take steps on climate-related peace and security issues is an increasingly urgent question.
This graphic charts global emissions scenarios based on existing trends and increasingly ambitious climate targets. For more on how the Paris Agreement fundamentally realigned the structures of international climate policy, read Severin Fischer’s CSS Analyses in Security Policy here. For more CSS charts and graphics, click here.