1st Edition

Securitizing Global Warming A Climate of Complexity

By Delf Rothe Copyright 2016
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the reasons for a recent securitization of climate change, and reveals how the understanding of climate change as a security threat fuels resilience as a contemporary political paradigm.

    Since 2007, political and public discourse has portrayed climate change in terms of international or national security. This increasing attention to the security implications of climate change is puzzling, however, given the fact that linkages between climate change and conflict or violence are heavily disputed in the empirical literature. This book explains this trend of a securitization of global warming and discusses its political implications. It traces the actor coalition that promoted the idea of climate change as a security issue and reveals the symbols, narratives and storylines that make up this discourse. Drawing on three detailed case studies at the international level of the United Nations, the regional level of the Euro-Mediterranean and the national level of the UK, the book reveals how climate change is turned into a non-linear and unpredictable threat. The resulting complexity discourse prevents the adoption of any exceptional measures and instead presents resilience as the only way to cope with the climate threat. This book shows that we can only grasp the complexity of the securitization process and its implications in the climate change case by comparing it at different political levels over a longer period. By developing a securitization framework the book makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate on security and resilience in critical security studies.

    This book will be of much interest to students of critical security studies, resilience, environmental studies, global governance and IR in general.

    1. Introduction – or how discourses create a climate of complexity 2. Out of school: From Copenhagen over Paris into the world 3. Securitization deconstructed: towards a consequent poststructuralist framework 4. Digging deeper: history and deep structure of climate change and security discourse 5. The international arena: A war of all against nothing 6. The Euro-Mediterranean Region: Not in my Backyard 7. The United Kingdom: Complexity, climate security and resilience 8. Conclusion – or how to mitigate a climate of complexity


    Delf Rothe is a Postdoc-Fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy Hamburg, Germany, and has a PhD in political science.

    ‘The political puzzle of climate change is not only about why so little has been accomplished internationally, it is also how climate politics has been subsumed into the discourse and practices of climate security. In an acute analysis, Delf Rothe examines both the nuts and bolts of this matter and the underlying structural processes that have turned an already complex issue into an even more wicked problem’. -- Ronnie D. Lipschutz, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

    ‘This book is an ambitious attempt to examine current theories of securitization and to rethink the links between climate and security in contemporary policy discourse. Focusing on the United Kingdom in particular this analysis of the rise of climate risks and biopolitical security policy moves academic debates ahead usefully. Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary developments in environmental security thinking and policy innovation’. -- Simon Dalby, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada