Climate change has been recognized as a security problem over the past two decades. However, no measures were sufficient to prevent the climate insecurity of states, individuals and nature. The securitization of climate change was discussed in detail. This paper contributes to this scholarship by examining the articulation of climate security issues in the current national security policy discourse. A comparative discourse analysis of the most recent most important security policy documents of the United States and Australia provides information on the extent to which climate change has been included in the security discourse. The analysis identifies the key elements of securitization based on the theory of the Copenhagen School of Security Studies and highlights the need to implement a human security approach to climate change. This article makes the central argument that climate change should be explicitly recognized by states as an existential threat to security and that measures should be implemented within the framework of a human security approach.
Climate change is a challenge that states have wanted to face for more than three decades. Although climate change is discussed on various platforms and innumerable measures have been recommended both at regional and international level, current measures can be seen as insufficient to reverse serious climate disturbances. This article therefore re-examines the possibility of securitizing climate change as a means of urgent mitigation and adaptation to the threat of climate change. Climate change securitization puts climate change high on the political agenda (Floyd 2008) and could improve and broaden the policy response at different levels of government by encouraging policymakers and the public to recognize the impact of climate change on security (Scott 2012 )). Previous research has focused on the success or failure of securitizing climate change rather than its potentially positive effects. In addition, the question of whether climate change should be viewed as a security issue remains controversial.
The general consensus is that climate change is more of a threat multiplier than a direct driver of conflict (Ahmed 2011; Christoff & Eckersley 2013; Elliott 2015; Oels 2012; Scheffran & Battaglini 2011). According to Deudney (1990) and Bonds (2015) it is wrong to link environmental problems to national security, since the traditional security focus of the state is on interstate violence and climate change should not be prioritized as a security problem as it is not an “enemy” one pose a direct threat to humans ”(Corry 2012). However, climate change increases the risk of violent conflict (Abrahams & Carr 2017; Barnett 2009; Scheffran, Link & Schilling 2012). The framework for securitization arose from the need to extend the security area to a range of non-military issues (McDonald 2012). A threat or a security problem is therefore not always a conflict or an incident involving weapons or weapons.
This research analysis focuses on the security policies of two major state actors. Australia and the United States (USA) from 2014 to 2019. The aim is to answer the question; “How threatening was the risk of climate change in the perception of national security decision-makers?” After a thorough review of US and Australian security documents, current and high-level political documents were selected for this analysis. These are the National Security Strategy (USNSS) 2017 and National Security Strategy (USNSS) 2015 from the USA and the Foreign Policy White Paper (FWP) 2017 and the Defense White Paper (DWP) 2016 from Australia. This research analysis improves the understanding of the securitization of climate change in the context of national policy implementation.
This research analysis makes the key argument that states’ implementation of a human security approach to climate security could be the solution to the lack of satisfactory efforts to address the threat of climate change. This paper first gives a brief overview of securitization and its elements. The selected policy documents are then examined and the proportion of each text on climate change is indicated. A comparative discourse analysis of the selected guideline documents is presented. After that, this paper emphasizes the importance of determining who (i.e. reference object) actions against climate change are directed at. The possibility of implementing a human security approach to combating climate change will be discussed on the basis of the human security chapter of the IPCC report on Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities. Each selected policy document from the US and Australia is compared to determine the extent to which they have supported human security approaches to tackling climate change. Finally, this paper contains a number of recommendations that could be implemented to address the threat of climate change.
Review of US policy documents
This national security document review focuses on two key issues; To what extent do the policy documents recognize the threat posed by climate change and do they contribute to the securitization of climate change? In order to be able to carry out a valid and practical assessment, a framework for the securitization is established, as there is no universal definition of the securitization. Since the term security does not have a constant meaning, it is interpreted differently in each tradition of security studies (Floyd 2008; Stripple 2002). Securitization is subjective as it is just a manifestation of a theory and is applied accordingly to various case studies (Balzacq & Guzzini 2015). For the purposes of this investigation, securitization is defined as the process of converting problems into security issues by taking exceptional measures on a reference object. The presence of key parameters of the securitization such as an existential threat, the expression of a problem (e.g. threat from climate change) for security reasons, extraordinary measures and a reference object indicate a securitization attempt.
The US National Security Strategy highlights national security concerns and explains how the US government intends to address them. The USNSS 2017 illustrates the security policy under President Trump while the USNSS 2015 represents the time of the Obama administration. Calculating the percentage of the number of pages mentioning environmental issues out of the total number of pages in the policy document gives an overall understanding of the magnitude of a problem in a security agenda. By doing USNSS 2017, Potential environmental challenges are identified in less than one percent of the total document and in the USNSS 2015, Three percent of the entire document deals with environmental problems [Figure 1.0]. The USNSS 2017 There is no clear statement that climate change is a security concern. In the securitization framework, the advantage of such a term is that it could give the issue a high priority within a security agenda and trigger the necessary action to address the threat of climate change. While there is no discussion of the threat of climate change in the USNSS 2017, the USNSS 2015 has a dedicated section recognizing the climate change threat as one of the top national security concerns and provides a general assessment of the climate change threat. Although climate change is one of seven national security issues discussed in the EU USNSS 2015Only three percent of the entire document deals with environmental problems. This percentage is high compared to one percent of the USNSS 2017, but three percent still indicate a low priority. Still the USNSS 2015 fulfills the requirement of the hypothesis of the “speech act”, since it declares climate change as a security problem and paves the way for partial securitization in contrast to the EU USNSS 2017.
The securitization of climate change requires more than the mere identification of climate change as a threat and should include the implementation of exceptional measures to protect a reference object from the threat. The USNSS (2017, p. 14) implies a state-oriented security approach in the interest of building a resilient community against natural disasters and underlines the need to protect the population, property, infrastructure and “tax money from loss and destruction”. In addition, the USNSS 2017 notes that the need to respond to natural disasters is just as important as backlashing an attack on the US. Christoff and Eckersley (2013, p. 200) refer to environmental impacts as “weather of mass destruction” and point out that this should be taken just as seriously as weapons of mass destruction. Disaster management is important to prevent the emergence of existing crises in conflicts (Scheffran & Battaglini 2011). The securitization of environmental problems is an example of urgent and important measures, but not of uncritical secular measures (Eckersely 2009). Hence, resilience to direct threats alone hardly falls within the realm of securitization, and it is evident that the USNSS 2017 does not imply any extraordinary measures. Resilience focuses on adjusting in the face of adversity associated with a risk, while securitization is aimed at eliminating the threat. According to McDonald (2012), securitization perpetuates problems above normal policy and can enable extraordinary measures.
Exceptional measures are deliberate measures taken in addition to political efforts to improve the benchmark, and a state would not have taken such measures if the security agenda had not considered climate change a security threat. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions under an agreement with China, contributing to the Green Climate Fund, investing in clean energy projects, reducing methane emissions and implementing a free trade agreement for environmental goods are measures to combat climate change in the EU USNSS 2015. However, there is not enough evidence to categorize the stated measures which are exceptional in nature. The USNSS 2015 could have contributed to a partial securitization of climate change because it explicitly recognizes climate change as a security problem and uses, for example, a fixed language; “Stopping climate change” (White House 2015, p. Iii) and “Meeting the dangers of climate change” (White House 2015, p. 1). In addition, the USNSS goes under the heading “Confronting Climate Change” (2015, p. 12) on the presentation of the most important measures to combat the threat from climate change. The securitization framework focuses on language in creating security (McDonald 2012). Therefore, the language in this document becomes a key element of the analysis.
To whom extraordinary acts are applied, d. H. A reference object such as a state, an individual or an ecological system could be identified as the threatened object. “Reference objects are entities that seem to be existentially threatened and have a legitimate claim to survival” (Buzan, Waever & Wild 1998, p.36). The USNSS 2015 suggests prioritizing efforts to address key strategic risks to the country, not only viewing climate change as a threat multiplier, but also viewing climate change as a direct threat by addressing concerns about the increase in resource conflicts and the formation of “climate refugees “(2015, p. 12). In this case, the nation-state is the reference object as the proposed measures are to position the US military globally to provide humanitarian and disaster relief (White House 2015))and strengthen cooperation with allies and reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters (White House 2017), p. 42). The international community can serve as a reference object of the USNSS 2015because it insists on respecting international climate agreements in order to formulate partnerships with states and local communities in order to adapt to the adverse events caused by the effects of climate change (White House 2015, p. 9). In addition, the USNSS 2015 points out that climate change is hindering the economic development of the state; “The world economy is suffering, which increases the growing costs for the preparation and restoration of the infrastructure” (Weißes Haus 2015, p. 10). On the contrary, they USNSS 2017 believes that business should take precedence over measures to combat climate change. “Excessive environmental and infrastructure regulations hinder American energy trading and the development of new infrastructure projects” (White House 2017, p. 18). This wording shows that the Trump administration was unwilling to take any action that could affect economic growth. Concentration on energy dominance in the interests of economic development, which in turn identifies the economy as the reference object of the security discourse in the EU USNSS 2017.
However, the failure to recognize climate change as a security threat and emphasis on the nation state and its economic development undermined action against the threat of climate change during the Trump administration. The goal of USNSS 2017 is to leave the children and grandchildren, “a nation that is stronger, better, freer, prouder and bigger than ever” (White House 2017, p. 55) and although the USNSS 2017 Underlines the American concern that a safer nation is unlikely to be built in an unsafe climate. The USNSS 2015 This may have contributed to a partial securitization of climate change, but it cannot be classified as a deliberate attempt to securitize climate change. It is questionable whether the US National Security Strategies, especially the USNSS 2017are sufficient to address climatic uncertainties. Hence, securitizing climate change on the US security agenda remains incomplete.
Review of Australian policy documents
This section covers the two main security policy documents in Australia from 2014 to 2019. the Foreign Policy White Paper (FWP) 2017 and the Defense White Paper (DWP) 2016. The FWP 2017 illustrates the attitude of the Federal Government towards the world and recognizes opportunities and the convergence of economic and security interests. The DWP 2016 is a final report published by the Australian Department of Defense setting out defense concerns and the strategic plan for the Australian Defense Forces. Both White Papers date from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s administration. The main questions answered by this analysis are: To what extent does the document recognize the threat posed by climate change and does it contribute to the securitization of climate change? While a high percentage of six and a half percent of the FWP 2017 discusses environmental problems, only half a percent of the total DWP 2016 mentions possible ecological challenges [Figure 1.1].
By doing FWP 2017Climate change is identified as a security problem that contributes to many factors and thus supports the general consensus on climate change as a threat multiplier. Climate change is discussed under the headings “Environment under pressure” and “Global cooperation”. As a result, the international community is the reference object in this context. The reference to climate change leads to a state fragility in the FWP 2017 suggests a securitization language, but no exceptional measures are missing. Mason and Zeitoun (2013) affirm that constructions of human security such as food security and water security could be recognized as potential threats to human security FWP 2017 explicitly discusses food and water pollution. In this context, the individual becomes a valid reference object for the securitization. In addition, the FWPnotes that ocean acidification caused by climate change poses a threat to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and outlines measures to achieve Australia’s emissions reduction target by 2030 and other commitments under the Paris Agreement (2017, p. 84).
The FWP 2017 does not contribute to a securitization of climate change at the state, individual, natural and / or international community level (reference objects), since only the security and other effects of the climate are identified as the future and not as the current threat. Assumptions of future climate security risks imply neither the need nor the urgency to take extraordinary measures and do not portray climate change as an existential threat. The securitization of climate change is not necessarily achieved by establishing a connection between climate change and security issues (Corry 2012) FWP 2017 identifies the potential danger of climate change, does not contribute to the securitization of climate change.
The reference objects of the security discourse in the DWP 2016, including the nation-state and the economy. The DWP 2016 considers the management of natural resources to be a critical factor because of its impact on the economy. This includes energy and maritime security management to protect Australia’s offshore oil and gas infrastructure. Geopolitical interests continue to structure and influence securitization of the environment (Mason & Zeitoun 2013). Australia, for example, is in favor of energy security because energy trading affects economic development. The DWP 2016 Measures against the threat of climate change and at the same time for economic development are given priority. In addition, the DWP 2016 explicitly states that the current global order requires the handling of threats before they become an existential threat. The DWP 2016 recognizes climate change as a potential threat, but not an existing threat, and it clearly lacks the outstanding exceptional measures that need to be implemented in the name of security.
A comparative analysis of policy documents
This comparative analysis provides an example of the existence of different approaches to security in the global political system that share universal values and concerns. In this review, the individual characteristics of securitization and de-securitization are comparatively analyzed between the security discourses in the USA and Australia. First, to complement the discussion of comparing the total proportions of each document discussing environmental issues, US security strategies have a collectively lower percentage of texts discussing environmental issues than the collective percentage of Australian white papers [Figure 1.2]. That one percent of the USNSS 2017 and the three percent of the USNSS 2015 cover both the effects on the environment and the existential threat posed by climate change. The six and a half percent of Australia FWP 2017 and half a percent of DWP 2016 indicate environmental impacts, including the potential risk of natural disasters and government fragility caused by climate change. Although the USNSS 2015 contains a lower percentage of three percent than the six and a half percent of Australia FWP 2017, the USNSS 2015 achieved a partial securitization of climate change, as climate change was expressly articulated as an existential threat, but extraordinary measures were not recommended. The partial securitization in the USNSS 2015 can be viewed as a result of political ideology and external factors such as international political commitments and the increase in natural disasters during the Obama administration. A common similarity between every American and Australian document is the emphasis on the need for immediate action in the event of natural disasters. However, such mundane acts do not contribute to securitization as they pose a risk rather than a security threat.
Second, the tone of voice is assessed in each policy document by highlighting the urgency contained in the securitization and de-securitization statements. The tone of voice plays a crucial role in determining whether climate change has been securitized. Table 1.3 and Table 1.4 list the most important citations contained in each document that describe, downgrade or increase environmental problems. The use of a language that degrades the securitization process could be identified as “desecuritization language” and the use of a language that increases climate change as an existential threat could be recognized as “securitization language”. The USNSS 2015 takes a strong position on climate change mitigation using fixed words / terms such as “cement”, “arrest” and “addressing the threat of climate change” and the present is used consistently throughout the document to identify the Climate change used as an existential threat. Both of Australia FWP 2017 and DWP 2016 Use the future tense to describe the threat from climate change, depicting climate change as a potential threat that could contribute to a range of security issues in the future. This failure to establish climate change as an existential threat prevents extraordinary measures from being triggered. In assessing whether there has been a history of securitization of climate change, McDonald (2012) claims that acceptance of a threat related to global climate change did not enable immediate action to be taken in Australia. The discussion about resilience and adaptation in the face of natural disasters does not indicate any urgency and could rather be interpreted as the language of the de-securitization of climate change. Therefore, the White Papers do not contribute to the securitization of climate change.
Third, the nodes and reference objects of each security policy document presented in this review help understand the topics of discussion of each policy document. Nodes are a set of key rhetorical elements that appear dominant in any discourse (Ferguson 2019, p. 108), and the nodes are used to determine the reference objects of each document. For example as USNSS 2017 Explains the discussion about securing the “domestic economy” (a hub). The economy is a reference object. As indicated in Table 1.5, the policy documents contain more than one reference object in their security discourse. Likewise are the nodes of the USNSS 2017 are “American resilience”, “natural disasters”, “domestic economy” and “energy dominance”, and therefore the reference objects are the economy and the nation-state. The nodes of the USNSS 2015 indicates that climate change securitization is in progress with respect to the US state and the international community. In Australia FWP 2017“Climate-induced changes”, “fragile states”, “global pressures”, “natural disasters” and “sustainable development” can be identified as “nodes” that suggest individuals, nature, the international community and the economy as reference objects. Climate change is seen as equal to business and the security discourse is expanding from national to international measures in the EU FWP 2017while the DWP 2016 only identifies the potential danger to its reference objects, which are the state and the economy.
In addition, security concerns have been incorporated into a state’s security agenda based on the administration’s political ideology, and security discourse can have both national and international priorities in an administration period. The presence of different reference objects in the guideline documents could contribute to a securitization in different aspects, but the careful selection of reference objects in a security discourse could improve the effectiveness of the securitization process. Therefore, the selection of a suitable reference object in a security discourse can advance the securitization process.
Human Security Approach to Climate Change
This section analyzes the extent to which the US and Australia are addressing climate change in the context of human security. According to the General Assembly resolution 66/290Human security is “an approach that assists Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and overarching challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people” (United Nations 2012). The Human Development Report (HDR) 1994 defined the concept of human security in terms of seven components. These are economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, personal security, community security, and political security. The IPCC is now reporting on Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities (AR5 synthesis report) also provides a framework for human security.
Discussing climate change from a human security perspective could improve security for vulnerable people and communities given the disadvantages of government security approaches ((Adger 2010; Elliott 2015; Mason & Zeitoun 2013). The AR5 synthesis reportassesses how the human impacts of climate change directly affect the security capacity of the state to protect its citizens, emphasizing the economic and livelihood dimensions, cultural dimensions, migration and mobility dimensions of security, and how climate change can lead to armed conflict and geopolitical rivalries that affect the Climate change endangers the integrity of the state (2014, p. 762). Table 1.6 shows how the dimensions in the AR5 synthesis report overlap the human security components in the HDR 1994. For example, the dimension of climate change and armed conflict affects both personal and community aspects of human security.
“A threat to an element of human security will likely – like an angry typhoon – lead to all forms of human security” (UNDP 1994, p. 32), and therefore a securitization process that focuses on human security should all seven Components cover human security to effectively address the security problem. By percentage calculations, the US and Australia security documents contain a significant discussion of human security issues on the security agenda [Figure 1.7]. US security strategies determine the key priority of the security discourse as a nation-state. Only three percent of the total USNSS 2017 focuses on human security by strengthening the domestic economy and building a resilient community against sudden attacks and environmental disasters. However, the point is not to understand the effects of climate change. The USNSS 2015 identifies climate change as a threat to national security that contributes to conflicts over natural resources, the intensification of natural disasters and the creation of refugee flows. Thirteen percent of the USNSS 2015 Representing the state’s concern about individual economic growth, promoting equality, protecting human rights and embracing the values of different communities. However, the measures to curb climate change are in the USNSS 2015 Take a state-centered approach by recognizing that climate change is causing significant infrastructure restoration and preparation costs to the global economy.
According to the AR5 synthesis reportThe economy and livelihood dimension affects the economic, nutritional and health aspects of human security. In essence, the individual’s standard of living determines access to food and sources of health. Beide US-Sicherheitsstrategien identifizieren Personen nicht explizit als Referenzobjekt und berücksichtigen nicht, wie sich der Klimawandel auf die wirtschaftliche Stabilität und das Wachstum einer Person auswirken kann. Diese Auswirkungen auf Wirtschaft und Lebensunterhalt bleiben ein Bereich, der im Rahmen des US-Sicherheitsdiskurses angegangen werden sollte. Australiens FWP 2017 and DWP 2016 Ausführliche Ausarbeitung der durch den Klimawandel verursachten Fragilität des Staates. 8,77 Prozent der FWP 2017 diskutiert den Klimawandel im Kontext der globalen Zusammenarbeit; Förderung einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung, Förderung der Menschenrechte, Reaktion auf die Herausforderungen von Vertriebenen, Belastung der Nahrungsenergie und des Wassers, Schutz der Ozeane und Schutz der globalen Gesundheitsrisiken. Nur 1,5 Prozent der DWP 2016 berücksichtigt die menschliche Sicherheit in seinem Sicherheitsdiskurs. Diese Prozentsätze sind jedoch keine Darstellung der Auswirkungen des Klimawandels auf die menschliche Sicherheit. The DWP 2016 konzentriert sich auf Verteidigungsstrategien im Falle staatlicher Fragilität aufgrund des Klimawandels, erkennt jedoch Einzelpersonen nicht als Referenzobjekt an. Daher bieten beide Weißbücher keine umfassende Anerkennung der Auswirkungen der menschlichen Sicherheit, die durch die Bedrohung durch den Klimawandel verursacht werden.
The AR5-Synthesebericht schlägt vor, Anpassungsstrategien als Reaktion auf die Bedrohung durch den Klimawandel umzusetzen, diese unterscheiden sich jedoch in ihrer potenziellen Wirksamkeit (2014, S. 762). Zu den Strategien zur Verbesserung des Wohlbefindens des Einzelnen gehören „Diversifizierung der einkommensschaffenden Aktivitäten in der Agrar- und Fischereiindustrie“, „Migration als Risikomanagementstrategie“, „Entwicklung von Versicherungssystemen“ und „Bildung von Frauen“. Die AR5-Synthesebericht erklärt, dass einige dieser Ansätze die menschliche Sicherheit untergraben können, wenn komplexe Lebensgrundlagen nicht berücksichtigt werden, beispielsweise solche, die auf kulturellen Praktiken beruhen (2014, S. 762). Die Art und Weise, wie eine Gesellschaft Risiken, Belastbarkeit und Anpassungsfähigkeit wahrnimmt, wird von kulturellen Aspekten geprägt. Obwohl die USNSS 2017 Die Auswirkungen des Klimawandels werden nicht in den Vordergrund gerückt. Sie erkennen an, wie wichtig es ist, die Widerstandsfähigkeit der USA durch den Aufbau einer Kultur der Bereitschaft zu fördern. Um kulturelle Werte in die Sicherheitsagenda aufzunehmen, muss die USNSS 2015 stützt sich auch auf die Stärkung der Zivilgesellschaft und junger Führungskräfte. Die Anpassungsstrategien sollten lokales und traditionelles Wissen wie die Ansichten der Ureinwohner einbeziehen, um eine angemessene Reaktion auf Risiken oder Ereignisse zu ermöglichen (Adger et al. 2014).
Migrations- und Mobilitätsdimensionen wirken sich auf die wirtschaftlichen, Ernährungs- und Gesundheitskomponenten der menschlichen Sicherheit aus. Der staatszentrierte Ansatz folgte in der USNSS 2015, erkennt an, dass die Klimabedrohung ein Sicherheitsproblem ist, das Migration und Flüchtlingsströme verursacht. Es wird das Risiko identifiziert, dass übermäßige Migranten die nationalen Grenzen überschreiten, um Sicherheit zu suchen. Extreme Wetterereignisse können die Bevölkerung verdrängen und zu vorübergehenden Migrationen führen (Adger et al. 2014). Australiens FWP 2017 betrachtet auch das Risiko von „Klimamigranten“ als Sicherheitsproblem. Im Gegenzug die AR5-Synthesebericht schlägt vor, dass die Planung und Erhöhung der Mobilität die Kosten der Vertreibung senken kann, und genehmigt die Migration als eine Strategie, die das Risiko mindert. In den politischen Dokumenten der USA und Australiens werden Migration und Mobilität nicht als strategische Antwort betrachtet. Migration kann jedoch nicht als günstiger Ansatz für staatszentrierte Sicherheitsdiskurse akzeptiert werden, da es sich nur um eine kurzfristige Lösung handelt.
In Konfliktgebieten sind die Grundbedürfnisse des Einzelnen wie Unterkunft und Nahrung schwer zu befriedigen, und der Verbrauch an Grundressourcen ist höher. Wenn extreme Klimaereignisse diese Bedingungen beeinflussen, kann dies Konfliktsituationen verstärken. There is enough evidence and consensus regarding the increased risk of armed conflicts and civil war because of climatic factors (Adger et al. 2014, p. 772). Effective resource management as a means of climate change adaptation is suitable and, although suggestions for adaptation such as peace parks are limited in its effectiveness and ambiguous, they can increase cooperation across borders and reduce the risk of conflicts (Adger et al. 2014, p. 775). However, there is uncertainty as to whether cooperation among states would alleviate human insecurities, but the developed states could aid the developing states without violating their sovereignty. Moreover, climate change affects the state’s integrity by challenging territorial sovereignty, endangering critical infrastructure and causing geopolitical rivalry (Adger et al. 2014). Australia’s DWP 2016 provides a state-centric approach to problem through the implementation of defence mechanisms in the event of state fragility caused by climate change. Thus, proper adaptation and mitigation strategies are necessary to address human security implications of climate change before threats reach the state level.
When implementing adaptation strategies, it is important to consider location and context-specific factors, invest in institutional responses, and avoid inappropriate climate policy responses. The AR5 Synthesis Reportacknowledges that adaptation and mitigation strategies become less responsive when climate change implications become serious (2014, p. 775). However, “although the opponents of securitisation of climate change reject traditional security approaches, they do not reject the human security implications” (Baysal and Karakas 2017, p. 40). Despite recognition of some human security implications, as shown in Table 1.8, the US and Australia security policies do not cover all the seven human security components to fulfil at least a partial ‘human’ securitisation of climate change. In conclusion, the AR5 Synthesis Reportcan be referred to as a framework for how a human security approach to security could enhance actions to mitigate the threat of climate change.
The analysis finds that the current security discourse articulated by the US and Australia does not include effective extraordinary measures to meet the threat of climate change. This section makes eight recommendations to adapt to and mitigate the threat of climate change. As the political community in each nation does not explicitly recognise climate change as a pressing and existential security issue, the first key recommendation is to explicitly state climate change as a current security issue, thereby triggering the implementation of policy actions to address climatic insecurities. Although a partial securitisation of climate change is identified in the USNSS 2015, because of the firm securitising language used to determine the severity of the existent threat, the USNSS 2017 only mentions the importance of security in the face of natural disasters. The Australian FWP 2017 and the DWP 2015 identify climate change as a future threat, diminishing the priority and the scale of the threat.
The second key recommendation is to address the human security implications of climate change since lack of human security can lead to state insecurity. While the US Security Strategies address economic, environmental and political security of an individual to an extent, the security approach should extend beyond acts of resilience-building to incorporate environmental hazards, economic development of the community and political dignity of an individual. The FWP 2017 covers economic, food, health and environmental security implications by identifying that climate change will put strains on food and water, increase health risks and affect the economy. The 2016 DWP’s state-centricsecurity approach only addresses economic and environmental security at a very low level. This recommendation also encourages the involvement and support of businesses, organisations and communities to further the cause of climate change mitigation and adaptation. While measures of mitigation can be carried out as means of voluntary climate change mitigation programs, implementing a policy that encourages cooperation at all levels would help to gain multilateral support of the international community.
As the third recommendation, the issue of economic dominance in the security discourse needs to be addressed by embracing economic development with due consideration to the loss incurred by the increased adversity of climate change and natural disasters. The Australian Climate Change Authority (2014) confirms that climate change incurs both social costs and economic costs. This recommendation should be implemented through the integration of climate change into other sectors such as education, health, transportation and environment.
As the fourth recommendation, deforestation and other disturbances to forest regions needs to be addressed. Both the US and Australia have forest regions that are currently under threat from factors such as deforestation, forest fires and other disturbances. Greenpeace (2019) affirms that Australia also contributes to the problem from the supply of cheap timber, paper, pulp and palm oil. The 2019 wildfires in the Amazon rainforest and the frequent Siberian wildfires are examples of devastating consequences of climate change. A state can pursue five measures for mitigation of the threat; implementing forests monitoring systems to monitor illegal or hindering activities in forests, afforestation/ reforestation projects, promotion of forests reserves and resource management. As an element of adaptation, forest-fire response teams and measures to restore natural habitats should be established.
As the fifth recommendation, the threat of continuous sea level rise needs to be addressed in the security agenda of a state. Sea level rise and its causes pose a risk to the marine ecosystem and the businesses and communities that rely on marine ecosystem for their livelihoods (US Global Change Research Program 2017). An important mitigation measure is to regulate aquaculture before they become a threat to the coastal region and the use of mangroves to absorb the carbon in the ocean would reduce GHG emissions. The management of resources in coastal areas without leading to exploitation of fishing grounds and creating coastal landslides for building ports is essential. Effective adaptation methodology to protect the coastal regions include establishing cost-effective shoreline protection through restoration of coastal ecosystems and implement measures to sustain local livelihood and economy (Hale et al. 2011).
A sixth recommendation is that climate change implications should be recognised as the result of GHG emissions and the incapability of the states and the communities to reduce the GHG concentration in the atmosphere. Adhering to the obligatory targets of each nation laid out in the 2015 Paris Agreementis an initial step to reducing GHG emission before moving onto more stringent targets. The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C suggests all states could contribute by mitigating emission to reach ‘net-zero’ around 2050. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in which developed states acquired emission credits for bankrolling projects, Emission Trading schemes, and Joint Implementation projects which would allow one country to gain emission credits by subsidizing emission reductions in another country are important GHG emission reduction strategies. The Australian Climate Change Authority 2014 suggests carbon reduction measures such as Carbon Pricing Mechanisms and Carbon Farming Initiatives. Natural carbon extraction mechanisms (low cost and low tech) are also options.
As a seventh recommendation, measures should be taken to reduce high energy consumption in the world by switching to renewable energy sources. Promotion of energy efficiency in the households and business is a good strategy that could be deployed by limiting the use of energy supply from one source and by supplying energy through different energy sources for different regions. The government could introduce reliable sources at fundamental levels in local industries and as a result it would add to economic development and stability of the living standards of the individuals. However, the use of renewable energy sources is a highly debated topic most commonly in the context of reliability, efficiency and security. Another adaptative measure could be regulating transportation emissions.
The final recommendation is for states use military sector for implementation of actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Military planning is becoming affected by climate change (Brzoska 2015; Briggs 2012), and it is highly recommended to expand the traditional role of the military. However, the support of the military should not in any way imply a ‘militarisation’ of a human security approach to climate change. Protection of natural habitats and resources could be realised with the aid of the military, but it should not be conducted as a military enforcement. States should therefore dedicate a proportion of the large state funding allocated to military expenditure to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Military resources and personnel could be used in the event of natural disasters and extreme weather events.
The Fourth National Climate Assessment 2017 of the US affirms that mitigation and adaptation strategies help to reduce climate change implications which are immediate, substantial and spanned over a range of sectors. Climate change is an existential threat that needs to be tackled as a security threat to individuals or communities. For an overview of the recommendations, refer to Table 1.9. As discussed, the two key recommendations and other recommendations could be implemented by a state to incorporate a human-security centred security approach to adapt to and mitigate the threat of climate change. In conclusion, climate security should go beyond a state-centred security approach to climate change It is crucial that we undertake further urgent actions to preserve our planet earth for the current and the future generations.
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Written at: Deakin University
Written for: Dr. Peter Ferguson
Date written: October 2019