Climate security

Rice fields in Thailand

A changing climate will affect all aspects of human life including, food, energy and water, health, migration, the economy and trade; and potentially conflict and stability. However, changes in the climate will not occur in isolation. So, understanding future threats to security requires that we evaluate not only the changing climate hazards, but consider these alongside the simultaneous changes in exposure and vulnerability of human populations.

Climate science has made huge progress in understanding the dynamics of climate variability and change over the last few decades, with climate models being a valuable tool for understanding the future climate. However, there remains a gap between the type of information climate projections provide and an understanding of the consequences for human well-being. The Climate Security team undertakes new research into climate and climate change from the perspective of human security outcomes, to provide salient and actionable advice on the global challenges of climate change.

The Climate Security team adopts a systems-based approach; engaging in trans-disciplinary research into the complex interaction between climate change and security drivers. By interpreting the science of climate variability and change in the context of the whole system, the Climate Security team aims to explore questions such as:

  • Can 9 billion people be fed equitably, healthily and sustainably?
  • Can we cope with the future demands for water?
  • Does climate change threaten long term development goals, and how might we address this threat?
  • Where could climate change interact with other drivers of instability, conflict and migration, and how can we understand this risk?

With a broad range of customers spanning UK Government, Ministry of Defence (MoD), UN organisations, NGOs, research institutes and commercial businesses, the Climate Security team provide policy-relevant advice, produce a range of effective communication tools and develop new research and analysis to help understand the implications of climate change for long term security.

Key aims

  • To engage with experts across a range of disciplines, including social science, economics and trade, on trans-disciplinary problems of complex environment-human systems and their response to climate change.
  • To provide customer and policy-relevant interpretation and communication of climate science for a range of stakeholders. 
  • To identify and research key climate science questions in the context of the globalised and inter-connected world.  

Current and recent activities

Last updated: 6 April 2016

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