Do you know the influence of climate change on security?

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Climate change is affecting human security and stability in some regions of the planet. The search for the relationship between climate change and the appearance of conflicts has aroused the interest of the scientific community in the last few years and many related studies have been published.

Discover the influence of climate change on security


Climate change has ceased to be an exclusively environmental issue and has become an economic and security problem, even comparable to that of a terrorist threat. It is necessarily a risk enhancing factor: conflicts in times of high summer temperatures are more violent than in the winter.

We are already experiencing the consequences of environmental degradation, the pollution of the oceans, the decrease in food resources, the change in fishing resources and the advance of desertification, the degradation of the land, etc.

Among the regions experiencing the effects of climate change, we have the Arctic area, which is thawing, the delta areas of South-east Asia, the Sahel area and Central America. They are precisely the regions where a large increase in population is expected. And they are vulnerable. In many cases, these areas are characterised by problems of food security, thus climate change will aggravate this situation in these regions, which are already quite vulnerable.

It is estimated that by 2030, 60% of the population will be living in urban areas. We will reach 9.1 billion by 2050 and 95% of that increase in the population will occur in developing countries, which are precisely those most vulnerable to climate change.

It is strictly necessary to guarantee the food security of the population, if we also want to confront great security threats such as those created by the adoption or recruitment of children, young people and other persons by terrorist groups, as is occurring in Nigeria with Boko Haram. When they lose their means of survival, people have nothing else to lose and terrorist groups take advantage of this to offer them a means of living, and resources so they can provide for their families.

Cities must be sustainable, safe, and above all, inclusive and resilient to climate change. They must be cities where the quality of air is guaranteed, where pollution and CO2 emissions are avoided.

It was necessary to tell the world: 'Ladies and gentlemen, we need a right to water'. And not only to water, but also to sanitation, which is fundamental because it affects human dignity. What is the response of the international community? It must not only seek mitigation, but also adaptation. It must improve the resilience of populations and not only give humanitarian aid; the structural causes making communities vulnerable to the consequences of climate change must be tackled.

It is also necessary to invest in agriculture, and to improve the insurance system so that farmers will not be left unprotected if they lose their crops. It is similarly important to make advances in networks of early alarm systems for adverse weather events, to give people time to react. The threats of climate change to security also depend to great extent on which measures are adopted and how.

Economic growth is not a sustainable type of growth. We are exhausting resources, we are degrading the planet. I try to be optimistic because it is true that there is already a certain awareness. Globalisation has the advantage of allowing a higher level of awareness in the International Community.

Sustainable Development Goals serve as objectives as they have their targets and lines of action. If we follow them, we can achieve sustainable development!

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 The influence of climate change on security (Spanish version) [PDF]

 Climate change and its impact on defence (Spanish version)

 The Iberdrola group, a world leader against climate change