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The Security Implications of Climate Change


July 15, 2011


Washington, DC

The beginning of the year 2011 was marked by climate related disasters with serious implications for human well-being. In Queensland, Australia, floods surged through the region, setting Brisbane, Australia's third largest city, under water, and killing at least 19 people. In Brazil, more than 500 people perished when mudslides caused by heavy rain covered and destroyed their homes, making it the worst natural disaster in several decades. Politics has recognized this trend, with the UN Security Council debating the security implications of climate change in July 2011. Observed climate change is a fact, with scientists linking observations in sea level rise and global mean temperatures to increasing CO2 emissions. Whereas the science on anthropogenic climate change has advanced quickly, an analysis of the impacts for (human) security is lagging.

Professor Christian Webersik described his work to fill this gap in the literature by examining the impacts of climate change on security, resource scarcity, natural hazards, and environmentally-induced migration, with evidence from sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Strategies to mitigate climate change, such as the production of biofuels or nuclear energy, will have unintended consequences, affecting food security and nuclear safety. These developments have been under-researched, and will play an important role if societies decide to reduce emissions drastically.

Christian Webersik currently works at the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Agder as Associate Professor. His general research interests are the role of natural resources in armed conflict, climate change and security, natural hazards and development, and post-conflict economic recovery. Before joining UiA, he was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science -- United Nations University (JSPS-UNU) Postdoctoral Fellow at United Nations University