Climate Change and the State: A Case for Environmental Realism

In recent years, the internal challenges to Western liberal democracy and the early effects of climate change have both intensified drastically. In early 2020, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak added a harsh reminder of the capacity of epidemic diseases not only to kill human beings but to cause massive economic, social and political disruption.

To shape an appropriate intellectual response to these challenges, security establishments need to prioritise the gravest actual threats to states. Furthermore, proponents of human security (and the environmentalists among them in particular) need to understand the central importance of states, and state legitimacy and strength, to any efforts to limit climate change, to maintain Western democracy, and to defend the lives and wellbeing of Western citizens.

This article originally appeared in the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ The Survival Editor’s Blog.


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