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Environmental Change and Security

This Programme explores the complex nexus that exists between climate change and security.

Since 2006, RUSI has engaged with traditional security actors to increase their understanding of the implications of climate change for security. This dialogue has focused specifically on the potential for climate change to impact the geopolitical landscape and the types of operational responses that will be required from the Defence Community.

To date, projects have been completed in partnership with governments and national organizations in Mexico, Central America, China and the US. The Programme has also contributed material on the implications of climate change for global governance and overseas infrastructure to the UK Foresight Centre's International Dimensions of Climate Change Project.

For the latest analysis on Climate Change and Security go to: 

Latest News

RUSI Researchers Invited to Contribute to 'Climate Policy' News: 29 Aug 2012
RUSI researchers Duncan Depledge and Dr. Tobias Feakin were invited to prepare a paper for inclusion in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Climate Policy

Dr Tobias Feakin Gives Interview at Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington D.C. News: 24 Jun 2012
Dr Tobias Feakin Discusses the Current State of the Debate in Europe on Climate Change and the Military.

Tobias Feakin Spoke at the Defence, National Security and Climate Change Workshop News: 2 Jul 2012
Last month, Dr. Tobias Feakin spoke at the Defencse, National Security and Climate Change Workshop, held in Washington D.C. in June

Duncan Depledge Presents Research to Senior US Military Leaders News: 14 Jun 2012
Duncan Depledge, a RUSI Research Analyst from the Environmental Change and Security Programme travelled to Washington D.C., to co-present preliminary research findings at a workshop.

Members of Climate Change Programme meet top officials in Mexico News: 18 Nov 2011
A new interim RUSI report has been launched focusing on the effects of climate change in Mexico. Members of the Climate Change and Security Programme have met top officials in the Mexican capital to discuss their findings.

RUSI evidence papers included in new Government climate change report News: 11 Jul 2011
Expert RUSI analysis has been used by the Government to publish its new report on climate change. Papers prepared by the Climate Change and Security Programme at RUSI have helped the Government deliver a comprehensive analysis on the wider-effects of climate change.

RUSI Climate Change Programme prepares paper for German Marshall Fund News: 17 Nov 2010
RUSI climate-change experts Dr Tobias Feakin and Duncan Depledge have prepared a paper for the Washington-based German Marshall Fund. The paper has given experts a better understanding of the effects of climate-change on transatlantic relations.

Climate Security Research Project: Mexico and Central America Visit News: 29 Jun 2009
Dr Tobias Feakin and Shiloh Fetzek’s visit to Mexico and Central America marks the launch of a project to investigate the impact of climate change on security and stability in the region. As the effects of the changing climate become increasingly apparent, Mesoamerican governments join RUSI in discussions on the arising security implications.

Climate-related impacts on national security in Mexico and Central America News: 26 Nov 2009
Climate change will make Mexico and Central America's current challenges of poverty and governance much harder to solve in the future, and could contribute to a deteriorating security environment according to the preliminary report from a research project by the Royal United Services Institute.

Latest Commentary

The Impact of Climate Change on Security: Is the UK in Need of a Nationwide Review? Articles: 12 Feb 2010 by Duncan Depledge
Climate change will bring with it both physical and political security challenges. But how prepared is the UK to face them?

Putting the Arctic Boom on Ice: Proceedings of RUSI Arctic Roundtable Commentary: 11 May 2011
On 12 May 2011, foreign ministers from the eight Arctic countries will participate in the seventh summit of the Arctic Council, an organisation initially forged to secure agreed environmental standards for the region. Now, amid growing interest in the opportunities and challenges energy resources and sea lines of communication present, the Council must reform to meet the interests of global demand.

Thinking strategically about the future climate Commentary: 12 Jan 2011
Last February, RUSI analysts suggested that Whitehall needed to conduct a nationwide review of the implications of climate change for national security. Almost one year later, is the government considering climate change anything other than a peripheral factor?

Looking North: Britain's revitalised interest in the northern areas of Europe Commentary: 9 Mar 2012
A recent defence Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Norway underscores renewed British strategic interest in the north. Such alliances are crucial in the face of the Arctic region gaining further geopolitical relevance.

How Copenhagen will affect international security Commentary: 9 Dec 2009
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has been billed as 'the most important gathering in human history'. Without binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilise expectations, climate change will have a huge impact on future security considerations.

Latest Publications

Testing the Northern Flank: The UK, Norway and Exercise Cold Response Articles: 6 Aug 2012 by Duncan Depledge and Klaus Dodds
Regional commitments and preparing for the unique challenges of cold-weather operations have provided new impetus in the UK's military arctic engagement

Arctic Security: Neither a Great Game nor a Scramble Articles: 26 Jan 2010 by Matthew Willis
Enhancement of military capabilities by Arctic powers may not be the zero-sum security competition that many are suggesting

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