One implication of the war in Ukraine is that collective solutions to climate security will be ever more difficult to forge. Earlier hopes for cooperation were focused on the ‘securitization’ of climate change – that is, presenting it as an issue for security policy. The expectation was that the security implications of climate change would be recognized as a shared threat and dealt with through multilateral cooperation under UN leadership.
The securitization of climate change took place at the same time as a decline in liberalism and multilateralism in international politics. The rise of conflictual and disintegrative tendencies in international relations creates a dangerous geopolitical context for climate change.
Climate security is part of great-power politics. Recognizing this requires a deep rethinking of how cooperation can be achieved if this issue cannot be decoupled from geopolitical gridlocks. Climate and environment issues should be ‘re-securitized’, for example, by further embedding them into the few existing multilateral regimes, such as the Paris Agreement and the UN Convention on Biodiversity.
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