Environment, climate change, and peace

Authored by: Randall Amster

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Conflict and Peacebuilding

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138202528
eBook ISBN: 9781315473772
Adobe ISBN:


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The connections among environmental issues, conflict, and peacebuilding have been well explored in academic and policy spheres alike, yet there is no consensus on the precise nature of the relationships. On one hand, myriad accounts of “resource wars” (Klare 2002) have infused the discourse with a perspective that is equal parts empirical and predictive, citing examples of historical and contemporary conflicts that project ahead toward continuing crises over resources including water, arable land, minerals, and of course energy sources. On the other hand, in recent years a parallel body of literature has arisen, drawing upon numerous case studies and theoretical assessments that indicate a more complex picture in which environmental concerns (including resource allocations) can be drivers of peace between parties rather than conflict. In both cases, the centrality of the environment is viewed as a critical juncture for security considerations.

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