The Weaponization of the Environment in Times of Climate Change (Working Title)

The chance that govern­ments or opposition groups strike at water, food and energy resources and related systems and herewith use the environ­ment as target, weapon and tool to demon­strate their clout, oppress civilians or gain ground in combat, is a real one. The threat of the weaponi­zation the environ­ment (WotE) is highly alarming, as it can under­mine modern civili­zation, which is founded on the provision of food, clean water and energy. While existing literature widely discusses the links between environ­mental change and human security and the inter­national community puts great efforts in fostering global resource security, the scientific under­standing and global aware­ness of the WotE remains limited. Existing research on the WotE mainly focuses on the Middle East, it is based on secondary data and strongly prioritizes the analysis of water, neglecting the weaponi­zation of food and energy resources and systems. This research proposal explores under which circum­stances the environ­ment is weaponized. It empha­sizes that there is no mechanic link in the environ­ment-human inter­action and therefore it analyses the indirect and context-sensitive links between environ­mental change and human security. With a mixed-method approach, it explores the WotE among societies living in drought-stressed regions in three countries in Africa. To gain insight into the local socio-economic, political, demo­graphic and environ­mental factors, the qualitative research approach will consist of case studies, building on discourse analysis, participant obser­vation and semi-structured interviews. This method is comple­mented with quantitative data, in particular concerning local specific climatic conditions. Results are expected to provide solutions on how the environ­ment and its resources can be safe­guarded through advance­ments in inter­national law and better enforce­ment mechanisms. In light of a changing environ­ment and evidence of the WotE, solutions are urgently needed to ensure human security, prosperity and equity in climate-fragile regions.

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An Ancient Practice with a New Face | 2020

Kohler, Christina (2020): An Ancient Practice with a New Face. The Use of Water as a Weapon in Times of Climate Change, PRIF Spotlight 9/2020, Frankfurt/M.

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2
Climate Change makes the Weaponization of Resources more effective than ever before | 2020

Kohler, Christina (2020): Climate Change makes the Weaponization of Resources more effective than ever before, Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen e.V., 17.3.2020.

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3
Understanding environmental terrorism in times of climate change: Implications for asylum seekers in Germany | 2019

Kohler, Christina/dos Santos, Carlos Denner/Bursztyn, Marcel (2019): Understanding environmental terrorism in times of climate change: Implications for asylum seekers in Germany, in: Research in Globalization, 1:1, DOI: 10.1016/j.resglo.2019.100006.

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