10 Insights on Climate Impacts and Peace

This new report provides an overview of the growing research on the links between climate change, security and peace.


This report is a synthesis that identifies ten insights into climate-related security risks and lays the groundwork for the Climate Security Risk and Foresight Assessment, led by adelphi and PIK, that will be launched at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference. Climate change is one of the most pressing political issues of our time. The unprecedented nature and scale of its impacts on people, economies and ecosystems worldwide are becoming clearer as science advances. One critical dimension of these impacts are their effect on international peace and security.

Yet to date, the knowledge base on climate and security has remained dispersed and patchy, leaving policy makers unclear about how to grapple with this urgent issue. This new report synthesises and contextualises the existing scientific evidence to set out ten insights, which brief policymakers on the current knowledge of security risks related to climate change.

The 10 Insights, ranging from the peace and security implications of climate impacts on livelihoods and human mobility, to the unintended consequences of poorly designed climate and security policies themselves, lay the groundwork for the German Foreign Office-supported Climate Security Risk and Foresight Assessment that will be launched at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference.

The implication of these insights is that, if we do not act swiftly, climate change will mean more fragility, less peace and less security. The risks that climate change presents to international peace and security need to be addressed across the entire impact chain: by mitigating climate change, attenuating its consequences on ecosystems, adapting socio-economic systems, better managing the heightened resource competition climate change will bring about and by strengthening governance and conflict management institutions to cope with the changes in store without violence. The first step to all of this is a robust and authoritative risk assessment. The first outputs of the Climate Security Risk and Foresight Assessment will be published in 2021.