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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports
Policy Brief No.20 - September, 2018
This review investigates the climate change problem at a global level, specifically temperature limits and how much carbon we can burn globally to avoid reaching a point at which global temperature increase cannot be stopped by further human action due to ecological feed-back effects (such as polar ice melting and permafrost areas releasing methane). The Pacific Region is discussed in the global context, particularly the Pacific involvement in setting temperature limits and the specific vulnerabilities of the island nations. A review is given of the Pacific Island Countries Second National Communications (SNCs) and the Initial Nationally Determined Contribution or INDCs submitted to the Paris Agreement. It is concluded that the position of the Pacific nations is becoming more fragile every year with serious problems ahead.
Policy Brief No.19 - September, 2018
Climate change is increasingly recognised as a security issue. It has been discussed at the UN Security Council, it features in national security strategy documents of more than half of the world’s states, and a wide range of think tank and academic publications point to the intersection between climate change and security. This does not mean, however, that there is consensus about the climate - security relationship or the desirability of linking the two. Some theorists working in the broad tradition of critical security stud-ies were important voices in pointing to the security implications of climate change, while others (perhaps paradoxically) urged caution in linking climate and security. In this sense it’s fair to say there’s no single ‘critical security studies’ perspective on the climate - security nexus, just as there is no single ‘critical security studies’ perspective in general. Critical security studies can be defined (broadly) as scholarship concerned with developing a critique of traditional approaches to security; examining the politics of security; and exploring the ethical as-sumptions and implications of particular security discourses and practices (see Browning and McDonald 2013). This brief provides an introduction to what Critical Security Studies has to offer in understanding and guiding practice on the climate change - security nexus. It suggests that analysis consistent with the critical security studies tradition can be (and has been) brought to bear on the climate change - security nexus by examining the scope of security threats; exploring the contested meanings of ‘climate securi-ty’; and engaging key questions and dilemmas associated with linking the two, in theory and practice. It also provides a brief illustration of the utility of a critical security studies perspective when approach-ing the relationship between climate change and armed conflict, and concludes with policy recommen-dations.
Policy Brief No.18 - August, 2018
It is clear that climatic events can have immediate impacts on human security (health, livelihood, food security), but does climate change also constitute a direct threat to peace, security and societal stability? This report discusses three aspects of relevance to the larger debate on the nexus between climate change, violent conflict and security: (i) the evident concentration of armed conflict in environmentally fragile regions; (ii) the scientific evidence base for a causal relationship between adverse climatic changes and armed conflict; and (iii) the role of climate-related security threats in a comparative perspective.
Policy Brief No.17 - July, 2018
The interrelationships between climate change, conflict, security and peace are gaining increased attention both in academia and politics. This field of research and political practice is of particular importance for the people and societies in Oceania, with the region being a climate change hotspot. So far, however, issues of climate change – induced conflict and conflict-sensitive climate change policies in Oceania have not received the attention they deserve. A new program of the Toda Peace Institute wants to change this. With a regional focus on Oceania, it will make a specific contribution to both the scholarly debate and the elaboration of policies in this emerging field of research and practice. This Policy Brief is the first in a series which will address the climate change – conflict nexus in the regional context of Oceania. It provides some basic contextual information, gives a brief overview over the state of relevant research, and suggests an agenda for further policy-relevant research, with emphasis on a relational approach and the need to include indigenous Oceania-specific knowledge and concepts.
Policy Brief No.16 - June, 2018
This Policy Brief compares and contrasts the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review with past reviews and its Obama predecessor. It concludes that this review offers a much harsher assessment of the security environment; it posits a more expansive role for nuclear weapons; and proposes a substantial de-emphasis on arms control. In tone and direction, the 2018 NPR signals a nuclear environment that is more menacing and more competitive, less regulated by negotiated agreement, and marked more by modernization than by reductions in forces. It focuses too much attention on Russian threats, sees weaknesses in the US deterrence posture and believes that deterrence will be bolstered by providing the president with additional usable nuclear options. While there are continuities between this NPR and earlier ones what makes this one particularly worrying is the incumbent Commander in Chief who seeks to blur past distinctions between conventional and nuclear forces.