Topics: Impacts and adaptation
Type: Briefing paper
Publication date: March 2018



Authors: Dr Amiera SawasDr Mark Workman and Dr Naho Mirumachi

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This briefing paper discusses the potential role of climate change, and the responses to it, as a security ‘threat multiplier’ that can exacerbate the risk of conflict, providing recommendations on how to reduce the chance of climate change-related conflict.


  • Climate change is a security ‘threat multiplier’ – especially in developing states and conflict zones.
  • Responses to climate change – adaptation, mitigation and low-carbon development – may also trigger insecurity.
  • Diverse stakeholders need to work together to promote low-carbon development which is sensitive to conflict. Low-carbon development faces the same challenges as traditional development but, due to the urgency of the climate and sustainable development agendas, these risks are being overlooked.
  • Vulnerability i.e. the susceptibility to suffer damage from hazards or extremes and the ability to recover, is a concept that can unite research stakeholders across the natural sciences and humanities. Analysing vulnerability can lead to the development of a more practical, multi-disciplinary understanding of the relationship between climate change and insecurity. Taking vulnerability into account in low-carbon development planning and implementation can also promote peacebuilding.
  • To promote conflict-sensitive low-carbon development, legal mechanisms and international norms designed to protect vulnerable citizens must do more to take account of local contexts and power dynamics which marginalise them.

Download: Climate change, low-carbon transitions and security BP25

View all Grantham Briefing Papers and Notes

[Image credit: MarcelC]