Amid the growing number of reports warning that climate change threatens security, one potentially dangerous – but counterintuitive – dimension has been largely ignored. Could efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and lower our vulnerability to climate change inadvertently exacerbate existing conflicts? How do we ensure mitigation and adaptation strategies do not create new conflicts? How can policymakers anticipate and minimize these potential risks? More ambitiously, can these efforts actually help build peace?
Backdraft: The Conflict Potential of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation – the latest edition of the ECSP Report – gathers leading environmental security experts to analyze these underexplored aspects of responding to climate change. Could a transition to the “green economy” create conflicts over newly strategic minerals? Could mitigation initiatives such as REDD+ trigger disputes over land rights, carbon ownership, and financial benefits? How can policymakers ensure that geoengineering technology or adaptation measures do not trigger unintended impacts? How can we more accurately forecast future climate security flashpoints?