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Climate Change as a Global Security Threat Essay

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Updated: Aug 20th, 2019

Climate change is one of the major concerns of humanity. Thousands of scientists try to find the necessary solutions. However, the issue is not only scientific puzzle any more. Security professionals agree that “climate change is real, and it is a real problem” (Sturm 2009, 1).

Reputedly, climate change will lead to energy shortage, food and drinking water shortage, proliferation of numerous diseases, which, in their turn, will lead to mass migrations, increased number of failed states, empowerment of violent non-state actors, and overall instability in the world.

Admittedly, climate change has already made many people to leave their homes and move to other countries to obtain better living. The USA has already faced serious issues concerning immigration (GlobalObservatory 2009). Apart from this the USA is also vulnerable to such problems as natural disasters, food and water shortage, energy crisis.

For instance, Hurricane Katrina which caused 2,000 deaths and $80 billion losses proves that the country is ready to respond to such catastrophes, but if the number of such disasters increases the government will soon fail to overcome disastrous aftermaths (Sturm 2009, 2). Unfortunately, scientists predict that the number of natural disasters will increase due to climate change.

Notably, natural disasters often shape international relations. Thus, a massive tsunami in Indonesia which took place in 2004 is a good example of the influence of climate change on countries’ relations.

The USA assisted Indonesia greatly, the aid cost the USA $5 million per day. Noteworthy, “American efforts after the tsunami dramatically improved the image of the US in the eyes of Indonesians, a major accomplishment in the fight against Islamic extremism” (Sturm 2009, 2).

Thus, mutual help and co-operation when solving environmental issues may be fruitful for the development of friendly relationship among different countries. Such countries as Mexico and Russia can become strategic partners of the USA.

On the contrary, if a state has to overcome natural disasters and respond to environmental problems without any help, this state can become hostile to other countries. Such states can threaten stability in the world by adopting extremist strategies.

For instance, the number of disasters which take place in the world each year make it impossible for the USA to respond to each of them. The lack of capacity can be regarded as unwillingness to help, and many countries can turn to terroristic strategies.

Admiral Dennis McGinn claims that instability caused by climate change may lead to many governments’ failure and creation of “power vacuum” which can be filled with various violent non-state actors that “use terrorism as their weapon” to achieve their goals (GlobalObservatory 2009).

Admittedly, climate change raises numerous questions concerning security. Thus, shortage of food and water has already caused unrest in many countries of the Middle East, Africa, Central and Latin America. Rosie Boycott, former editor of the Independent on Sunday, claims that food and water wars can become reality in the nearest future (GlobalObservatory 2009).

It is important to stress that agriculture problems can become real for the USA as well since numerous draughts and natural disasters negatively affect this branch of the US economy.

Finally, climate change causes the sea levels rise which is also regarded as a potential threat to the world security. Rising seas lead to mass migrations which “create refugee population where extremists can hide” (Sturm 2009, 3).

It goes without saying that in situations when people do not have their homes and do not have enough resources to feed themselves and their families, they are especially vulnerable and can be easily recruited by terroristic groups.

On balance, climate change is no more a topic for scientific discourse. It is one of the major concerns of security professionals worldwide. The USA has acknowledged the seriousness of the present situation and is ready to act to secure stability in the world.

Reference List

GlobalObservatory. 2009. “.” YouTube. Web.

Sturm, Frankie. 2009. “Climate Change: A New Threat to National Security.” Backgrounder (September, 10): 1-4. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Climate Change as a Global Security Threat." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/climate-change-essay/.

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