'Climate Change as a Security Risk'

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Publication Title

Climate Change as a Security Risk

Publication Type

Flagship Report "World in Transition"


German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)

Publication Date

January 2008


Publication URL




Without resolute counteraction Climate change will overstretch many societies’ adaptive capacities within the coming decades. This could result in destabilization and violence, jeopardizing national and international security to a new degree. However, climate change could also unite the international community, provided that it recognizes climate change as a threat to humankind and soon sets the course for the avoid-ance of dangerous anthropogenic climate change by adopting a dynamic and globally coordinated climate policy. If it fails to do so, climate change will draw ever-deeper lines of division and conflict in international relations, triggering numerous conflicts between and within countries over the distribution of resources, especially water and land, over the management of migration, or over compensation payments between the countries mainly responsible for climate change and those countries most affected by its destructive effects.

That is the backdrop against which WBGU, in this flagship report, summarizes the state-of-the-art of science on the subject of “Climate Change as a Security Risk”. It is based on the findings of research into environmental conflicts, the causes of war, and of climate impact research. It appraises past experience but also ventures to cast a glance far into the future in order to assess the likely impacts of climate change on societies, nation-states, regions and the international system.



See also

External Resources


 WBGU summary report.pdf

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