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Threats without Enemies, Security without Borders: Environmental Security in East Asia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2016

Ramesh Thakur
Affiliation:
United Nations University
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Northeast Asia constitutes a “regional environmental security complex” wherein the actors and societies are enmeshed together in a web of positive and negative externalities with respect both to environmental problems and efforts to solve them. The three sets of environmental issues relevant to the security architecture can be summarized as follows: damage to and destruction of peaceful relations, stability and order of the state-based system of international relations caused by environmental decay and resource scarcity; threats to human security rooted in environmental decay and resource scarcity; and damage to and destruction of environmental integrity caused by instability and conflict. Environmental degradation can degrade human security by damaging the health of human populations; economic security by impacting adversely on local, national, regional and international economies; and national security by undermining stable relations among countries. Equally, though, recurring patterns of human, economic and national behavior can deplete the earth's resources and degrade the physical environment.

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Copyright © East Asia Institute 

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