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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Climate Change and Conflict

The Climate Change – Security Nexus A Critical Security Studies Perspective

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.

Climate Change and Conflict

Global Security Challenges of Climate Change

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.

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change and Conflict in Oceania: Challenges, Responses, and Suggestions for a Policy-Relevant Research Agenda

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.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Nuclear Battleground: Debating the US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

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.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Summary Report: Harmonizing the NPT and the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Summary Report  No 15 - May, 2018

In collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN), European Leadership Network (ELN), and with support from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Toda Peace Institute convened a workshop in Seoul on 22 and 23 March under the title of ‘Closing the Gap: Harmonizing the NPT and the Nuclear Ban Treaty.’ The aim of the initiative was to enhance convergence between the NPT and Ban Treaty, to inform the 2020 NPT Review Conference and strengthen the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime. In preparation for the workshop, APLN and the Toda Institute commissioned several background Policy Briefs.