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WIREs Clim Change
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Knowledge problems in climate change and security research

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The demand for policy‐relevant information on climate change has never been higher, but there remains a gap between the type of information climate projections provide and an understanding of the consequences for human well‐being. This review explores the knowledge available to support assessments of climate change and security for a wide range of policy stakeholders. Both the climate science and social science communities undertake valuable research toward understanding climate change and the interaction of environment and security, but address different aspects of the problem. Differences in the types of knowledge produced include analytical methods, language, and scale issues. This makes research conclusions difficult to reconcile and provides a barrier to knowledge sharing. It is largely left to policy and security analysts to bring these two very different types of information together in accessible, policy‐relevant assessments. Often this is done by considering the potential implications of existing climate change projections, with little or no input from social scientists on the complexities of the relationship between environment and security. An alternative approach to climate change and security assessments is to consider the problem from a systems perspective. This approach has the potential to offer new insight across disciplines and improve the utility of research outcomes to inform action on climate change and security. WIREs Clim Change 2015, 6:383–399. doi: 10.1002/wcc.346

Flow diagram of structure for typical climate change and security assessment.
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Flow diagram of systems approach to climate change and security assessment.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

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