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'Climate change and armed conflict: Challenges and opportunities for maintaining international peace and security through climate justice'

Das, Onita

Authors

Onita Das Onita2.Das@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in Law



Contributors

Randall S. Abate randall.abate@famu.edu
Editor

Abstract

According to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, “[c]limate change not only exacerbates threats to international peace and security, it is a threat to international peace and security.” Scientific forecasts have determined that climate change causes direct changes and damages to the environment that may then indirectly affect human beings in the long-term. This chapter argues that climate change in certain circumstances, particularly where human adaptation to the changing climate is ineffective, can spark armed conflicts which, in turn, negatively affect the environment and the population, thereby leading to a new cycle of destruction. In these circumstances, the affected population has to adapt to the situation, or in some cases leave for a more habitable environment. Such migration or direct negative effects of climate change on the environment, could trigger conflict within and with other communities as people compete over dwindling resources. For example, UNEP highlighted the causal link between climate change and armed conflict in its 2007 report entitled Sudan: Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment. More recently, the issue of climate change contributing to conflict has been brought up in relation to the conflict in Syria. While climate change regulation exists via eg the UNFCCC, it is argued that the focus of such regulation on mitigating global greenhouse gasses, though important, will not be able address wider, more pervasive challenges resulting from climate change. Beyond regulating the source of climate change, climate change adaptation is equally as important and as such, a climate justice approach to meeting adaptation issues is key. Climate justice, a concept built on the platform of equitable development, human rights and environmental justice, focuses on the unequal burden of climate change impacts on the most vulnerable and seeks to safeguard their rights, particularly by promoting more equitable and fair allocation of such burdens at the local, national, and international levels. Therefore, using the examples of the conflicts in Darfur and Syria, this chapter explores using the concept of climate justice together with existing guiding principles on peace and security of the UN system to more effectively meet the challenges created by climate change-armed conflict issues.

Citation

Das, O. (2016). 'Climate change and armed conflict: Challenges and opportunities for maintaining international peace and security through climate justice'. In R. S. Abate (Ed.), Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance ChallengesELI (Environmental Law Institute)

Publication Date Dec 1, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Book Title Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges
ISBN 9781585761814
Keywords climate change, armed conflict, international peace and security, climate justice
Publisher URL https://www.eli.org/eli-press-books/climate-justice-case-studies-global-and-regional-governance-challenges

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