Brzoska (Inst. for Peace Research and Security Policy @ Hamburg) 8
(Micahel, “The Securitization of climate change and the power of conceptions of security” ISA Convention Paper)
In the literature on securitization it is implied that when a problem is securitized it is difficult to limit this to an increase in attention and resources devoted to mitigating the problem (Brock 1997, Waever 1995). Securitization regularly leads to all-round ‘exceptionalism’ in dealing with the issue as well as to a shift in institutional localization towards ‘security experts’ (Bigot 2006), such as the military and police. Methods and instruments associated with these security organizations – such as more use of arms, force and violence – will gain in importance in the discourse on ‘what to do’. A good example of securitization was the period leading to the Cold War (Guzzini 2004 ). Originally a political conflict over the organization of societies, in the late 1940s, theEast-West confrontation became an existential conflict that was overwhelmingly addressed with military means, including the potential annihilation of humankind. Efforts to alleviate the political conflict were, throughout most of the Cold War, secondary to improving military capabilities. Climate change could meet a similar fate. An essentially political problem concerning the distribution of the costs of prevention and adaptation and the losses and gains in income arising from change in the human environment might be perceived as intractable, thus necessitating the build-up of military and police forces to prevent it from becoming a major security problem. The portrayal of climate change as a security problem could, in particular, cause the richer countries in the global North, which are less affected by it, to strengthen measures aimed at protecting them from the spillover of violent conflict from the poorer countries in the global South that will be most affected by climate change. It could also be used by major powers as a justification for improving their military preparedness against the other major powers, thusleading to arms races. This kind of reaction to climate change would be counterproductive in various ways. Firstly, since more border protection, as well as more soldiers and arms, is expensive, the financial means compensate for the negative economic effects of reducing greenhouse gas emission and adapting to climate change will be reduced. Global military expenditure is again at the level of the height of the Cold War in real terms, reaching more than US $1,200 billion in 2006 or 3.5 percent of global income. While any estimate of the costs of mitigation (e.g. of restricting global warming to 2°C by 2050) and adaptation are speculative at the moment,1 they are likely to be substantial. While there is no necessary link between higher military expenditures and a lower willingness to spend on preventing and preparing for climate change, both policy areas are in competition for scarce resources.