The environment and security: what are the linkages?




Dauvergne, Peter
Dupont, Alan
Elliott, Lorraine
Finlayson, Ian
Gleick, Peter
Harris, Stuart

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Canberra : Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, 1998.


In November 1997 the Australian Institute of International Affairs held a seminar in Canberra to explore the impact of environmental problems on Australia's security environment. The idea for the seminar arose during discussions about the meaning of environmental security and its regional consequences at meetings of the Australian National Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (AUS-CSCAP), of which the Institute and the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre are members. The seminar brought together scholars, policy makers, defence officials, members of the environmental community and the interested public to listen to presentations from Australian and international speakers on various aspects of the environmental security problematique. The chapters in this monograph touch on most of the key themes running through the contemporary debate on environmental security and, in particular, the relationship between the environment and conflict. A number of chapters analyse the theoretical arguments between those who believe that environmental degradation is a significant and growing cause of conflict and sceptics who respond that the environment is at best a marginal factor in conflict and war. Other chapters look at the impact of ecological stress on the developing states of East Asia, and explore in some detail how water scarcity, deforestation and the depletion of renewable and non-renewable energy resources can aggravate existing political and social tensions and territorial and resource disputes. The last two chapters discuss the implications of environmental security issues for the Australian Defence Force and for foreign policy. The papers in this monograph confirm the extent to which the literature on environmental security has become an established part of the lexicon and discourse of international security studies. They also reveal the complexity and interconnectedness of the policy issues associated with the impact of environmental degradation on national and international security.







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Open Access

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