Breaking the Impasse: The possibilities and limitations of securitizing climate change

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Title: Breaking the Impasse: The possibilities and limitations of securitizing climate change
Authors: Farrell, Peter
Date: 2014-08-18
Abstract: This research paper will explore the dilemmas surrounding efforts to combat climate change within the short timeline that remains before the planet crosses the two degree Celsius threshold to dangerous climate change. Specifically, it will explore the utility of securitization as a political strategy to break the present international impasse on a mitigation agreement. The first section will outline the political barriers that have led the present deadlock over a legally-binding agreement on greenhouse gas reductions. The second section will present the Copenhagen School’s securitization theory and explore instances of securitizing acts in relation to three referent objects: the individual, the state, and the international order. Furthermore, it will assess the difficulties associated with securitization in the environmental sector. Finally, the third section will explore the potential political outcomes of securitizing climate change. This evaluation will primarily build upon the political typologies of climate change as introduced by Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann. Ultimately, securitization in any form cannot be counted upon to effectively mitigate climate change. Given humanity’s fast-approaching ecological deadline this is not a terribly optimistic assessment. However, the dire consequences associated with climate change under business as usual scenarios, make it necessary to avoid clinging to illusions about the chances of its successful mitigation before time runs out. Indeed, a principle task for policymakers in the twenty-first century will be to make contingency plans to adapt to a warming planet. If worst-case predictions come to fruition, this may mean striving to preserve the most civilizing elements of modernity in the face of an increasingly volatile climate and the resulting political-economic world order it generates.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31476
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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