Definition (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Security refers to the general stability of a nation; it includes military defense against other nations and threats, as well as defenses against lower-level threats to stability, including civil unrest, political instability, disruptions of resources, and terrorism. Climate change has the potential to affect many of the resources that industrialized nations take for granted. Those resources are necessary to protect the land, air, and sea, as well as nations’ military capabilities. Provisions for food, shelter, health, longevity, space, and transportation may suffer, as may the general level of emotional security that helps maintain civil order in any nation where the populace vastly outnumbers the military and civil peacekeepers.
Governments must adapt to altering climates to maintain their security, so they must search for preventive and collaborative ways to pursue both military and health security that respond both to actual threats and to potential future threats. All societies need to conserve vital resources, while maintaining the ability to protect themselves. Even within the realm of military defense alone, competing interests must be taken into account. For example, testing nuclear weapons may make nuclear powers better able to defend themselves from other nuclear powers, but it could just as easily prove significantly counterproductive by destabilizing the relations among such powers. On a broader level, the...
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Significance for Climate Change (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Food availability is just one immediate example of a security concern raised by climate change. Such change can affect land fertility, and traditional methods of increasing fertility depend heavily on fossil fuels and GHG emissions, which may increase global warming and exacerbate the problem. Global warming may also lead to an increase in the number and spread of infectious diseases: Malnutrition and other disruptions in food quality can contribute to disease, as can changes in temperature and humidity that increase such disease vectors as mosquitoes and water contamination.
As food quality suffers, this in turn can lead to a decline in labor productivity, both for those who own and run farms and for those who cannot obtain the necessary nutrition to function effectively at work. The decline in productivity could specifically hinder military workers. New diseases can also weaken military capabilities, making nations more vulnerable and placing them at higher risk of security threats. Microbial changes in the environment can affect the very young and the very old, potentially increasing mortality rates. In nature, bees and other pollinators could become extinct, further endangering food supplies.
The most vulnerable nations, like the most vulnerable individuals, are those with the least power and resources. Thus, climate change is widely expected to have the greatest immediate security impacts on the...
(The entire section is 522 words.)
Further Reading (Encyclopedia of Global Warming)
Demeritt, David. “The Construction of Global Warming and the Politics of Science.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 91, no. 2 (June, 2001): 307-337. Reviews global warming from a political perspective and examines possible impacts of politics upon science and of science on politics.
Hess, Pamela. “Warming, National Security Linked: Trouble in Political Hot Spots Will Strain Resources, Officials Say.” The Grand Rapids Press, June 26, 2008, p. A9. Covers how U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed the ways global warming will affect illegal immigration, governments, and national security.
O’Brien, Karen L., and Robin M. Leichenko. “Winners and Losers in the Context of Global Change.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93, no. 1 (March, 2003): 89-103. Explores economic globalization and climate change, specifying who stands to gain and who stands to lose from global warming.
Schmidhuber, Josef, and Francesco N. Tubiello. “Global Food Security Under Climate Change.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, no. 50 (December 11, 2007): 19,703-19,708. Reviews the potential effects of climate change on food security, as well as possible negative future scenarios.
Soroos, Marvin K. The Endangered Atmosphere: Preserving a Global Commons. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1997. Describes the...
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Security (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Protection; assurance; indemnification.
The term security is usually applied to a deposit, lien, or mortgage voluntarily given by a debtor to a creditor to guarantee payment of a debt. Security furnishes the creditor with a resource to be sold or possessed in case of the debtor's failure to meet his or her financial obligation. In addition, a person who becomes a surety for another is sometimes referred to as a "security."
(The entire section is 75 words.)