Migration Patterns

Climate change, threat multiplier and internal conflicts in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia

Author : Lorraine Elliott | 2009
Published By: RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security

The proposition that environmental degradation is or should be a security concern is no longer a novelty in the non-traditional security agenda. Put broadly, environmental security falls within two sometimes competing approaches to non-traditional security (other terms include new security, transnational security, comprehensive security, and non-conventional security). The first of these, which is the focus of this paper, looks for non-traditional threats to traditional ‘referent objects’ (that is, states) and worries about the potential for conflict and political violence as a result.2 Other speakers at this conference will explore the impacts of climate change on the region, and the vulnerability of a range of social groups within those countries. The issue examined in this paper is whether the social and economic impacts of climate change could result in or exacerbate conflict in the region, with particular attention to the likelihood of intra-state conflict and unrest in Northeast and Southeast Asia. As the discussion below indicates, these are difficult questions to answer with any certainty.

URL : http://www3.ntu.edu.sg/rsis/nts/Events/climate_change/session4/concept%20paper-Lorraine%20Elliot%20Session%20IV.pdf

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