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The securitisation of climate change in the European Union


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   The securitisation of climate change has entered the international agenda creating concerns about the appropriateness of security responses to an issue such as climate change. Nevertheless, the European Union (EU) has identified climate change as an international security issue and is seeking to take the lead in shaping international response to the security implications of climate change.

   This chapter addresses the securitisation of climate change in the EU and analyses the policy implications of such a process. It argues that contradicting predictions of militarisation as well as the causes and consequences of climate change are being addressed through mitigation and adaptation measures. Moreover, at the international level, the EU is enhancing dialogue and co‐operation with key partners and countries most at risk.

   The chapter further addresses the specific case of the African continent and in particular the Sahel region, demonstrating how climate related conflicts and climate induced migratory pressures are issues of main concern to the EU. Although acknowledging the possible negative implications of such a narrow focus, it is argued that as current EU policy for the region emphasises development assistance, there is no strong evidence that securitisation will have a negative impact for the region.

   Overall, it is argued that although the securitisation of climate change did not result in the adoption of traditional security measures, it instead reinforced environmental measures. As these were invested with a security purpose, it can be argued that the securitisation of climate change is contributing to the transformation of security practices.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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