Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS April Meeting 2022
Volume 67, Number 6
Saturday–Tuesday, April 9–12, 2022; New York
Session X06: Climate Change and International Security
10:45 AM–12:33 PM,
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Room: Marquis A-B
Sponsoring Unit: FPS
Chair: Tara Drozdenkol, Union of Concerned Scientists
Abstract: X06.00002 : Climate and Conflict: Towards a Global Green Economy and a World of Societal Change
11:21 AM–11:57 AM
(U.S. Institute of Peace)
(U.S. Institute of Peace)
While a global transition to green energy yields huge societal benefits, it also has the potential to fuel conflict: geopolitical competition for mineral control; mining operations in fragile states that disregard human rights and result in pollution of land and water; decarbonization of economies that leads to destabilization of national governments; localized disputes around land rights and benefit sharing for expansion of green technologies; and social unrest as societies try to adapt to new economies. Although the technological advances have been considerable, they are not a solution to climate change on their own; the risk of conflict needs to be considered as part of global and national efforts to transition to green energy.
Another aspect of climate change that could lead to violent conflict is the way that climate change is jeopardizing human security. For thousands of years, migration has been a way for human society to adapt to environmental change. But now we face places increasingly becoming inhospitable for human society: an estimated 30 percent of the global population in 2070 will live in areas that experience a mean annual temperature currently found less than one percent of the Earth’s surface. Scientists have a role to play here, too — especially in terms of predicting the impacts and providing society time to develop global approaches to safe and humane pathways to other geographies.
Such policy issues require scientists to increasingly work hand in hand with social scientists, policy-makers, and civil society groups to address the ramifications of our response to climate change and to reduce the risk of violent conflict around the world.
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