2013-01-22 Environmental Security.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2137
Cameron Harrington

Environmental Security January 22, 2013 Security: a “disputed concept”  Latin securitas: “freedom from anxiety; freedom from fear”  An agreed-upon definition, but a disputed concept -security itself is a disputed concept -it is and will be a disputed concept -defining securityit’s relatively easy -Latin term derived from ancient Rome -ancient and original definition of security: freedom from anxiety, freedom from fear -it’s the original definition of security -today’s definition: freedom from danger, freedom from threat -official definition of security now -issues: what should be considered a real security threat, how should a security threat be handled, appropriate to label something as security issue? -security has, for a long time, been a disputed concept -what is the nature of that dispute? st 21 Century National Security U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)  Conclusions: destabilization of states in 3 World, vast human migration, water/food shortages U.K. ThreatAssessment  Most significant threats? -2007: major intelligence bill that U.S. Congress asked its National Intelligence community to come up with -ask for its intelligence estimate (NIE) on implications of climate change -what will be impacts of climate change and what are the resulting security risks? -part of larger initiative that started from the military: 11 retired generals initially argued that global warming would present significant national security challenges in the US -have to face these or face serious consequences -did analyses and studies and produced a 63-page report: climate change will destabilize already vulnerable parts of world (specificallyAfrica,Asia)likely to produce vast movements of people (refugees) to rich countries (more affluent places of world) -suggest that climate change act as ‘threat multiplier’ -climate change will exacerbate all existing risks (e.g. floods, droughts) -NIE completed in mid-2008 -met with skepticism from staunch opponents of climate change -many Republicans rejected report; said it was a waste of time and that anthropocentric climate change wasn’t occurring -in 2009: British government created the UK ThreatAssessment of Serious Crime and Other Threats -intelligence community try to come up with significant threats UK face -top threats: listed 1. terrorism, 2. ethnic conflicts, 3. environment -also looked at newer threats: crime, money laundering, public health, informational warfare -from these examples, typical norms of security we look at security (guns, tanks, battlefield): is it still relevant? -now, threats include different and new types of issues -prompt people to have broadening of issues and think of what security actually means? -insecurity: topic of human security -what is human security? The Meaning of Security “The threat, use, and control of military force” -threat, force, danger, defence, safetythese words encompass what we mean by security -conventionally understood (tradition way we look at security in general): refers to protection, where something (you, state, your community) is in state of protection (free from danger, safe) -realism: looks at security from point of view how the will to be secure comes from fear (innately, we are all afraid at one another, things that we don’t know; every other nation and state are afraid of every other nation or state because they all exist in the state of anarchy – no overarching hegemon/authority above that) -states are ever fearful because there’s no one to protect them -security: states always try to maximize their interest; e.g. talk about military capabilities, max-sum games -no attention put on psychological, cultural aspects of security -main actors are states; primary issue: threat of use and control of military force -end of Cold War: disintegration of Soviet Union opens up issues of security (terrorism, transnational crime, etc.) start to seep in into security analysis -most important thing for security: issue of war and defence New Threats to Security  Ethnic Conflict  Terrorism  Migration  Transnational Crime  Environment  Public Health -disintegration of Cold War: we begin to see new issues emerging  security framework -out of all of these new issues that received a lot of attention: environment receives the most scrutiny -pundits, policy makers, journalists, etc. looked at environmental security -there are two specific points of views when it comes to linking environment with security: those that are in agreement of it and those that are critical of it Should we link environment and security? Proponents: • Environmental scarcity and degradation can/will lead conflict and war • Need to broaden definition of security (e.g. human security) Critics: • Threatens the viability/parsimony of the “security” term • The environment is antithetical to security -proponents: people who look at roots of resource scarcity and degradation and point to if in the past or will be in the future lead to war and conflict -scarcity, degradation = lead to conflict -theoretical and empirical study involved and try to argue this -this is going to occur mostly in developing world -Kaplan wrote ‘The Coming Anarchy’ -argues that scarcity and degradation will lead people to fight (e.g. over dwindling resources or access to water, access to land) -not necessarily inter-state; it can be within a state (civil war) -another way of looking at environment and security: broadening definition of security -we must look at it in human-centric perspective -security held by state and sovereign authority -all about military, power, comparison between 2 states (which state has more power, does this neighbour have more power, etc.) -that’s the traditional viewpoint of security -now, we talk about security of the individual (day-to-day lives of people) – that’s where the environment can play a big role -by talking about security in this human-centred viewpoint, we can begin to talk about solutions, talk about our vulnerabilities -reasons how and why we should link environment and security -we can argue for environment and security on different grounds -some people are critical about linking environment and security together: -1. by expanding security to include environment, we’re threatening viability of the term security -security would mean nothing -eventually, we can’t do anything about our problems if everything is security -2. arguing that environment and things we hold as environmental sustainability is antithetical -state and power rely security on military (force, etc.) -you can’t solve environmental problems through military force –doesn’t matter how many tanks you have, it won’t reduce GHG emissions -linkage of environment and military security = can’t do both -cooperation -we can come together and mediate disputes, conflicts? -how do we incorporate cooperative security into the issue of environment? -how do we look at environmental negotiation as a different version of security? -security doesn’t have to be about conflicts, etc. Concept developed: 1960s-1970s. Popularized in 1990s -starts in the 1960s: subfield of environment security comes about in that decade -documents and studies that emerged in 1960s -e.g. Tragedy of the Commonshugely influential in developing environmental security -1972 Stockholm Summit -first UN conference on the environmenthelped propel issue in forefront -1992 Rio Summit -security and environment being actively linked one of the most influential moments -it wasn’t until 1990s when it became solidified and becoming more influential -e.g. authors Robert Kaplan (‘The ComingAnarchy’in 1994, Thomas Dickson studied environment and security -Dickson: look at how environmental change can or cannot lead to conflict/violence -1994: the term ‘human security’being touted by UN for first time Debating Environment and Security Traditionalists: • Primacy of military security • Military force/survival are paramount • The state is the main actor Non-traditionalists: • Expanded definition of security • States face different dangers • Complex interdependence • More actors involved than just states • Other issues involved than war -from both traditional and non-traditional point of view ->underlying assumptions which characterize how we look security and how you look environment -how we view the world and how we apply the issue -traditionalists: look at through prism of military -main goal is military security -idea of security is study and threat of use and control of military force -looking at conditions that make the use of force more likely and that policies that states adopt in order to prepare for, prevent, or engage in war -international systems is anarchic; there’s no central authority; no higher authority above states -states have to de depending upon themselves and alliances for survival -everything not related to force or poweris secondary; force and control of force is most primary requirement for state’s existence -non-traditionalists: expands the definition of security -to encompass different threats, expands the object that is to be secure -no longer just state you’re worried about, but it includes the individual -also makes careful note to state that survival of military is important, but not most important -states face threats that are not existential all the time -not all states face same degrees of danger; consequently, they don’t act all alike -issue of complex interdependence: look at security among broader perspective -states always working with other states in this complex world -every state is separate from every other statenot actual reality -states intertwined in a lot of different issues -states might be primary actor, but not only one -other issues involved than war -breakdown with Soviet Union and distinction between West and East in post-Cold War world -opens up range of different issues and actors to be involved in field of security -we can’t have this narrow definition of security related to military and force anymore -if it had to relate to them, then it would be Cold War -but it’s not relevant anymore; since that breakup in 1991, we talk about vast array of issues -whole notion of global war on terror: defines the past decade for the West; this couldn’t occur in Cold War -we can see how issues change our perception and security is no different Debating Environment and Security Proponents say:  Individual Level  Human security 
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