Climate risks and fragility

A New Climate for Peace Launch AA Steinmeier

When climate change exacerbates conflicts and crises, resilience must be the compass for foreign policy. A report to the G7 Member States identifies seven compound climate-fragility risks and recommends concrete actions to address them.

At the close of the Meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers in Lübeck on 15 April 2015, the Ministers announced a stronger collective commitment to tackling the climate-related risks faced by weak states. This follows the presentation of an independent report – A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks – to the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier by the consortium lead adelphi.

"I am delighted that based on this study we can develop joint measures and give new impetus to international processes. This is particularly important in light of the upcoming climate conference in Paris", Steinmeier said at the presentation. In the report by adelphi, International Alert, the Wilson Center and the European Union Institute for Security Studies, the authors recommended concrete actions that foreign ministers can take to increase the resilience of weak states, delivering peace and security across the globe.

In their final communiqué the G7 Foreign Ministers welcomed the report and agreed with the conclusion that there is a need to better integrate climate-fragility considerations across foreign policy portfolios. To this end the G7 "decided to set up and task a working group with evaluating the study’s recommendations."

Researchers recommend stronger cooperation amongst G7 Task Force

The report recommends that G7 governments develop and implement integrated approaches to new climate diplomacy. "We suggest establishing a high-level G7 Task Force, one that can initiate closer coordination between G7 members, strengthen collective responsibility and develop concrete, collective measures," said Dennis Tänzler, International Climate Policy Director at adelphi and one of the lead authors of the report. In order to achieve this, the G7 would have to work closely with affected states and societies. In parallel, existing initiatives for climate change adaptation, development, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding can support this new integrated approach. "When the nature of conflicts and crises change as a result of climate change, resilience has to become the compass for foreign policy," said Tänzler.

The seven compound risks that make climate change the most serious of threats

"Climate change is the ultimate risk multiplier", explained Lukas Rüttinger, one of the lead authors of the report. "It will increase the fragility of states and societies worldwide, bringing with it social unrest and even violent conflict." Climate change will intensify local resource conflicts around water and land and undermine the livelihoods of many communities. Highly volatile food prices and the failure of states to protect their populations from the consequences of extreme weather events can become catalysts of political instability. Already, the crises in Mali and Syria demonstrate how threats to livelihood and intensified competition over limited resources can exacerbate political instability.

The authors of A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks identified seven compound risks that make climate change a serious threat. These complex, systemic risks emerge when climate change interacts with other stressors and pressures such as increasing demand for resources, environmental degradation, unequal economic development, population growth and rapid urbanisation. Weak states with governments that lack legitimacy face the biggest threats. However, Rüttinger also noted that "if too many stressors and pressures converge, even more stable states can be pushed towards fragility".

Media Coverage

International

» "A New Climate for Peace" - International Press Service (07/01/2015)
» "A G7 Report Says Climate Change Can Fuel Political Upheaval Like Civil Wars" - Vice News (06/25/2015)
» "G7: Make 'climate fragility' a foreign policy priority" - RTCC News (06/24/2015)
» "New report for G7 urges joined-up responses to climate change security threats" - Water Briefing (06/24/2015)
» "Climate change should be top foreign policy priority, G7 study says" - The Guardian (06/24/2015)
» "Climate pressures threaten political stability - security experts" - Thomson Reuters (06/23/2015)
» "Canada ignores G7 concern over climate change risks – should investors be worried?" - National Observer (06/11/2015)
» "Harper pushes for ratified Canada-EU free trade agreement at G7" - Toronto Star (06/07/2015)
» "Migration, security critical to climate change" - The Jamaica Gleaner (06/05/2015)
» "G7 identifies climate change as source of conflict" - europolitics (04/20/2015)
» "G7 agrees greater role for climate change in foreign policy" - Business Green (04/20/2015)
» "Climate change is largest global security threat, report warns" - Click Green (04/17/2015)
» "G7 ministers pledge joint commitment to tackling climate change and fragility" - Policy Review (04/17/04.2015)
» "Climate-risk Resilience Must Become New Compass for G7 States' Foreign Policy" - Huffington Post USA (04/20/2015)
» "7 Risks That Are Making Climate Change Into One of the Biggest Security Threats of the 21st Century" - Huffington Post USA (04/17/2015)
» "G7 stresses climate risks to fragile states" - RTCC News (04/16/2015)
» "Two Ways Clinton Can Make Voters Care About Climate Change" - The New Republic (04/16/2015)
» "As foreign ministers meet on key world issues, will climate make the cut?" - Climate Wire (04/15/2015)
» "New G7 Report Highlights Climate Change and Fragility as a Foreign Policy Priority" - New Security Beat (04/15/2015)
» "G7 Foreign Ministers Identify Climate Change, Fragility as Priority" - IISD Reporting Services (04/15/2015)

Germany

» "Das hier ist Katastrophenvorsorge" - Interview with Dennis Tänzler, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (12/11/2015)
» "Anheizer für den Terror" - ZEIT Online (12/03/2015)
» "Der Klimawandel macht die Welt unsicherer" - Stuttgarter Nachrichten (12/02/2015)
» "Globale Erwärmung als Sicherheitsrisiko" - Interview with Benjamin Pohl, Deutschlandfunk (11/17/2015)
» "Endlich Energieeinsparung ins Zentrum rücken" - Deutschlandfunk-Interview with Dennis Tänzler (05/12/2015)
» "Klimawandel soll ins Zentrum der Außenpolitik rücken" - Saarbrücker Zeitung (04/16/2015)
» Radio interview with Lukas Rüttinger - FluxFM www.fluxfm.de (04/16/2015)
» "G-7-Treffen: Steinmeier warnt vor Folgen des Klimawandels" - Bayerischer Rundfunk (04/15/2015)
» "Klima ist 'ultimativer Gefahren-Multiplikator'" - n-tv.de (04/15/2015)
» "Klimawandel gemeinsam bekämpfen" - Bundesregierung.de (04/15/2015)
» "Klimawandel bedroht Frieden und Stabilität" - Solarify (04/15/2015)
» "Forscher werten Klimawandel als Gefahr für den Frieden" - Süddeutsche Zeitung (04/15/2015)
» "Klimawandel multipliziert Krisen" - klimaretter.info (04/15/2015)
» "Für G7-Staaten muss Widerstandsfähigkeit gegen Klimarisiken neuer Kompass der Außenpolitik werden" - Huffington Post Germany (04/15/2015)
» "Sieben Risiken machen den Klimawandel zu einer der größten Sicherheitsbedrohungen des 21. Jahrhunderts" - Huffington Post Germany (04/15/2015)
» "Steinmeier: Klimawandel gefährdet Stabilität von Staaten" - Stuttgarter Zeitung, dpa (04/14/2015)
» "G-7-Staaten halten Klimawandel für Sicherheitsgefahr" - ZEIT Online (04/14/2015)

Selected Projects

Selected Publications