Climate Change

RUSI’s research addresses climate change as the backdrop to all national security, defence and foreign policy discourses.

Main Image Credit Andrius from Pexels: Cracked dry land

Climate change is both an existential threat to humanity and a threat multiplier. With expertise across a range of themes and geographies, we assess the implications of climate change through geopolitical, defence and security lenses.

Our research produces leading commentary on how climate change intersects with ‘traditional’ security issues at the local, regional, institutional and international levels. Ongoing research includes horizon scanning of new trends in organised environmental crime; commentary on the security of nuclear weapons’ storage in a warming world; and the implications of a renewed interest in space travel. We lead several international Track 1 and 2 dialogues on topics including energy security, climate mitigation and governance of global commons. This year, RUSI will make recommendations on how to create a cyber-resilient renewable energy grid and launch a new Climate, Crime and Conflict podcast.

Our unparalleled access and cross-cutting expertise make RUSI the home of commentary on climate change, defence and security.

Main Image Credit Andrius from Pexels: Cracked dry land

  • The North Korean Climate Conundrum

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  • Greening Defence: RAF Ambitions in Search of Jet Zero

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  • Space Expansion Must Support Sustainability – On Earth and in Space

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Recent event series


Policing in an Era of Climate Change: The Challenge of ‘Eco-Dissent'


The Rise of the Far-Right: From Climate Denial to Eco-Fascism


Is 'Eco-Terrorism' Real?


Research areas

Access topics and programmes related to climate security.

Environmental Crime in a Warming World

This programme investigates the evolving impact of global warming on the criminogenic dynamics behind large-scale environmental crime.

Conflict and Security
Africa in Perspective Programme
Transatlantic Dialogue on China Blog

Exploring whether and how European coherence in its approach to Beijing can be enhanced in order to develop shared capacity in meeting the China challenge of today and in the years ahead.

UK - Australia Track 1.5 Bilateral Dialogue

This project explores the current status and future direction of the UK–Australia bilateral relationship within a new multipolar landscape.

SHOC articles

Read articles from ‘Nature, Guns and Money’, produced by the Strategic Hub for Organised Crime Research (SHOC)

The UNCAC’s Role in Tackling Corruption related to Environmental Crimes

5 Jan, 2022 - Forward Look by The UNCAC Coalition Environmental Crime and Corruption Working Group

Achieving Effective Biodiversity Protection During War and Armed Conflict

10 Dec, 2021 - Forward Look by Adrian Garside

Moving Beyond the Slogan: Operationalising ‘Follow the Money’ Approaches to Illegal Wildlife Trade in Uganda 

6 Oct, 2021 - Situation report by Cathy Haenlein

Cheating the System: Where Permits Come as Freely as the Wildlife

28 September, 2021 - Forward Look by Lauren Young

Authoritarianism is a Trap: How China Undermines its own Promises on the Environment

14 Sep, 2021 - Situation Report by Dr Tim Wittig

Laundering Shark Species in the Pacific: The Trail of the Fin

5 Jun, 2021 - Situation Report by Dr Alejandro Lerch

The Role of Beneficial Ownership in Combating IUU Fishing

4 Jun, 2021 - Forward Look by Alexandria Reid, Jessa Rose Dury-Agri, Austin Brush and Duncan Copeland

Preventing Future Zoonotic Pandemics: US Pandemic Relief Bill

27 May, 2021 - By Dr Tim Wittig

Read more articles from Nature, Guns & Money


Access podcasts and event recordings on climate change

Episode 56: Dr Jennifer Cole: Convergence and Civil Defence
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Episode 2: Climate Change and Security
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Episode 4: The Illegal Wildlife Trade: Not Just a Talking Point
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Podcast: The Climate Briefing: The Shifting Politics of Climate Change

This episode of the Climate Briefing podcast was produced in collaboration with the Transatlantic Dialogue on China project. It focuses on how climate change politics have shifted since COP21 in Paris, and explores the roles of the three largest emitters – China, the United States and the EU – in global climate action. The episode also provides a timely recap of the main aims of COP26.

Tackling Non-traditional Maritime Security Threats in the Indo-Pacific
Members events
Predicting Environmental Disasters
Episode 2: James Vickers
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Heating Up: The Impact of Climate Security on the Alliance
NATO Adapts: A Natural Disaster Crisis Simulation By Model Nato Students
Podcast: International Climate Security: The Threat Multiplier

Professor Malcolm Chalmers and Jamie Kwong explain how national security strategies consider climate change as a threat multiplier. Learn why embedding climate change in national defence strategies is vital to preserving climate security.

The Wildlife Trafficking-Security Nexus: Targeting the Organised Crime Threat

Research report

China, EU and US cooperation on climate and energy

The first of the research papers to be published as part of the Transatlantic Dialogue on China project, focusing on energy security and climate change.

Latest publications

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