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Princeton Project on National Security
Environment

Readings

"Energy Security," a speech by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr at 20/20 Vision's National Summit on Energy Security, Washinton D.C., 19 July 2006.

"Fueling the Future: Clean Energy, Climate Security & Sustainable Development," a speech by John D. Podesta at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. 23 March 2006.
Fuels are a growing factor in our climate, security, and development policy. Podesta traces the history of energy consumption and outlines progressive alternatives to fossil fuels, such as biofuels. He argues that fuel sources for our industrial economies are not only the greatest threat to our environment but also one of the greatest threats to the welfare of the poorest people on earth.

"Climatologists seek clear view of Asia's smog" by David Cyranoski and Ichiko Fuyuno. Nature, 10 March 2005.
New studies are gaining funding to monitor the spread and occurrence of smog throughout Asia, particularly over the Indian Ocean and in China.

"Signs From Earth" by Tim Appenzeller and Dennis R. Dimick. National Geographic, September 2004.
Noting the global warming trend of one degree Fahrenheit over the past century and the extremely high level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the authors ask whether or not global warming is directly related to human activity and if we are willing to stop it.

"Climate Change: A Multi-Faceted Security Threat" by Janica Lane, Stephen Schneider. SDSU Journal of International Security and Conflict Resolution, June 2004.
Lane and Schneider seek to address the consequences of global climate change on national security. After discussing the ways in which emissions reductions can be used as a bargaining chip in international negotiations also involving issues of security, the article raises the issue of refuges displaced as a result of climate change and their effects on security. Finally, the authors suggest several concessions developed countries must make to effectively address the link between climate change and security.

"Is the Environment a National Security Issue?" by Marc A. Levy. International Security, Autumn 1995.
The link between the environment and national security has garnered much attention recently, and Levy, like Deudney, seeks to investigate whether environmental conflict poses a substantive threat to national security. Levy refutes the “existential” view of those who believe the values of environmental preservation are inextricably linked to nationalistic values. Finally, Levy proposes that conflicts over the environment (resource sharing, for example) pose a very weak threat to our national security.

"Population Growth, Environmental Degradation, and State-Sponsored Violence: The Case of Kenya, 1991-93," by Colin H. Kahl. International Security 23, no. 2 Fall 1998, 80-119.
Kahl notes the growth of two ideas of why the environment and state security are linked. First, scarcity of resources can cause people to rise against their governments in desperation. Second, such uprisings can compound with a weakened government to encourage more uprisings. Kahl adds a third idea, “state exploitation,” saying that state elites may seek to combine stress over resource scarcity with their urge to take control of the government and encourage people to rebel.

"Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases" by Thomas F. Homer-Dixon. International Security, Vol. 19, No. I, Summer 1994, pp. 5-40.
The author studies the possible problem of conflict as natural resources become more scarce and our population grows. He finds that poorer societes are most prone to conflict because they are less able to protect themselves from shortages of resources. Moreover, Homer-Dixon asserts that “fast-moving, unpredictable, and complex environmental problems can overwhelm efforts at constructive social reform.”

"The Case Against Linking Environmental Degradation and National Security" by Daniel Deudney. Millenium: Journal of International Studies, 1990.
Deudney argues that the environment and human conflict share little in common. He believes that using nationalism as a way to raise environmental awareness can ultimately hurt global efforts to stop environmental damage; moreover, he asserts that there is simply no likely scenario in which conflict over the environment would bring states to war.

Links

Harvard University Center for the Environment
http://environment.harvard.edu/

The Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
http://www.princeton.edu/~step/

 

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