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The concept and application of resilience have been significantly expanded in the last three decades and the term is being used more and more broadly to represent a large-scale multi-disciplinary and comprehensive approach to both natural and human-related coastal issues associated with rising sea level, increased storm frequency and intensity, and human stressors. This chapter reviews the relevant findings from the recent global climate-change reports and introduces the resilience of barrier–inlet systems. In terms of the natural system, the survival of the very landform under the condition of accelerating sea-level rise is discussed via a conceptual model or a couple of numerical models. The resiliency of the human–natural barrier–inlet environment is far more complicated than just the natural system. The concepts and complicated framework outlined in the recent NRC (National Research Council) and USGCRP (US Global Climate Research Program) reports are reviewed, and illustrated with two case studies.
This chapter explores narratives of ‘nature’ in the context of climate change and the attendant creation of global and local subjectivities, both resilient and resistant. It first examines dominant renderings of nature and the biopolitics of climate governance before turning to consider counter-narratives of rights, the recuperation of ‘vernacular landscapes’ and their affective maps, and literary interventions into global climate imaginaries. This analysis reveals apparently competing, yet ultimately mutually constitutive, narratives: the increasingly prevalent discourses of resilience and adaptation in global climate change governance, and modes of resistance and reimagination. Given contemporary critiques of the neoliberal and neocolonial biases of international rights regimes, this chapter considers the capacity for local communities to articulate resistance to global climate governance within the language of rights and within the literary imagination. Such resistances reveal a constitutive relation between the global and the local, and the human and the nonhuman, providing a methodology for reimagining nature in international law.
This chapter explores the relationship between human rights and the environment. It begins by asking ‘who we think we are’ to understand the forms of subjecthood and subjectivity produced by human rights. It argues that human rights normalize a series of false conceptions about our collective self that have detrimental social and ecological consequences. The chapter next examines the question of ‘where we think we are’, probing the ontological rift between humans as subjects of rights and ‘the environment’ as the repository of resources with which to satisfy human entitlements. The chapter challenges human rights as a hubristic organizing category and observes that the ‘who’ and ‘where’ questions, artificially separated in the chapter, serve to show that the way humans treat each other is inextricable from the way we treat nature. To undo relationships of mastery, ownership, and violence between the subjects and objects of human rights law, projects for human wellbeing and environmental struggles need to engage with and understand each other outside the unproductive rubric of rights discourse.
This chapter provides a critical history of international environmental law. It suggests that the ideologies at the heart of international law and international environmental law projects cannot protect the environment. First, the chapter considers the influence of classical liberalism on the conception of nature in international law prior to World War II, especially in the context of fisheries. Then, the chapter turns to emerging environmental issues after World War II, when international law was concerned with marine pollution. During this period, international law took a welfarist approach to environmental problems, but with no substantial change to a liberalist conception of nature. Thereafter, international environmental law as a distinct branch emerged in the 1970s. This new branch remains rooted in liberal principles, but is also influenced by neoliberalism, as reflected in its general principles and marketised approach to problems such as climate change and biodiversity protection. As international environmental law has failed to provide solutions to the problems for which it was enacted, the conclusion calls for an ideological rethinking of founding principles.
This chapter examines processes of hydraulic development and state-building. It explores the ways in which modern ‘hydraulic missions’, and the new waterscapes and patterns of water use and supply resulting from them, reflect and have helped consolidate specific state-building and national development agendas. Building on this, the chapter shows that these hydraulic projects have also repeatedly involved dispossession, displacement, conflict and violence, and everywhere created new forms of insecurity for some alongside ‘water security’ for others; and as corollaries of this, that water-related conflicts have been more closely associated with development than its dearth, and more with resource abundance than scarcity. Lastly, the chapter argues that the spectre of climate change has already led to a resurgence of hydraulic development and associated conflicts – and that more will surely follow. Empirically, the chapter focuses on Israel, Cyprus, Syria and Sudan, providing illustrative examples of the range of hydraulic conflicts and insecurities which have ensued across these cases, associated especially with dam building, land-grabbing and agricultural modernisation.
This chapter introduces and develops an initial critique of ‘eco-determinist’ thought on climate, water and environmental security. The chapter shows, against this tradition, that the tension between local geographical constraints and demographic pressures is not the central cause of contemporary water-related insecurities, and that there are good structural reasons for this, rooted in the logics of global capitalism. The chapter demonstrates that eco-determinist thinking is both substantively misleading and normatively questionable. And it argues, on these grounds, that climate change–induced scarcities are in and of themselves unlikely to become a major source of conflict. These arguments are advanced both theoretically and via empirical analysis of, among other things, the patterns of water stress and scarcity across the book's ‘divided environments’, claims about 'water wars' on the Euphrates, Jordan and Nile Rivers and evidence on the current and likely future impacts of climate change on water resources. Overall, the chapter shows that what Robert Kaplan has called a ‘revenge of geography’ is unlikely, even under conditions of accelerating human-induced climate change.
This chapter explores the consequences of war for water security and insecurity. It maps out and analyses four main ways in which war matters for water: through infrastructure destruction; through population displacement; through the expropriation of resources and infrastructures; and through war’s profound if mostly indirect ramifications for state-building and development. Empirically, the chapter draws on evidence from across the divided environments considered in this book, including the ongoing wars in South Sudan, Syria and Lake Chad, the 2003–5 Darfur war, recent Israeli wars on Gaza and key historical conflagrations such as the 1948–9 Arab-Israeli war. The chapter argues through all of this that war is deeply contradictory, being simultaneously highly destructive and highly productive in its water security consequences. And it argues that this is likely to remain the case in an era of climate disruption: while, for some, war is likely is have sharply negative climate vulnerability consequences, it is nonetheless also the case, the chapter shows, that adaptive capacities are often founded on infrastructures and hierarchies of political violence.
This concluding chapter summarises and synthesises the book's main arguments on four levels: in relation to its five ‘divided environments’; with regard to what these cases, and the similarities and differences between them, suggest about the relations between water and (in)security; with reference to the broader significance of the analysis for understanding ecological politics and the study thereof; and on what, by extension, all this might tell us about the likely future conflict and security implications of climate change. Neither the eco-determinist nor liberal traditions, the book as a whole shows, are adequate to understanding water security and insecurity today, or to grasping the wide-ranging conflict and security implications of climate change; political ecology–informed premises are required instead. But what does this tell us about the coming landscape of climate change and conflict? The book closes by offering a series of tentative predictions.
The claim that there exists a complex ‘nexus’ linking water and other global challenges has become a commonplace of discourse on resource governance. But how should the relations between water and cognate areas be understood? This final main chapter of the book takes up this question by examining the four main relations underpinning water security and insecurity today: with trade, agricultural production, energy and capital. The chapter considers these four relations in turn, in each case providing an overall mapping of the 'transformations and circulations' that define them and an assessment of how they shape water-related (in)securities, especially in the book's five divided environments. The chapter argues that water is much more a dependent than an independent variable in nexus relations and that patterns of water (in)security are determined neither by natural availability nor market efficiencies, but instead by countries’ positionings within a structurally unequal and hierarchical capitalist world order. Against neo-liberal arguments, the chapter thus argues that contemporary capitalist nexus relations are a central part of the problem of water – and climate – security.
This full-length chapter introduces the book’s central themes and approach to analysing them. It starts by summarising the current public and policy ‘common sense’ on climate security, and by showing that the evidence base for this orthodoxy is weak or, at best, contested: this establishes the book’s primary research puzzle. With this set out, the remainder of the chapter details the book’s approach to exploring this crucial but contested issue. It does this first with regard to epistemology and method – critiquing extant environment-centric, quantitative and discourse-centric approaches, and via that articulating an alternative ‘international political ecology’ framework for the analysis of environment–security relations. It does it, second, in substantive terms, explaining the book’s focus on water as a key variable in, and analogue for understanding, climate–security linkages. And it does it, third, with regard to cases, introducing the book’s empirical focus on the five ‘divided environments’ of Cyprus, Israel–Palestine, Sudan–South Sudan, Syria and the Lake Chad basin. The chapter concludes by briefly explaining how the remainder of the book is organised.
This chapter serves as a companion to the previous one, focusing on the second main plank of eco-determinist climate and water security reasoning: drought. The chapter argues that the evidence on drought and conflict is weak and misleading; that today droughts have far more limited economic and political consequences than is usually imagined; and that we should not expect accelerating global climate change to fundamentally alter this. These arguments are developed via analysis of the first supposed ‘climate wars’ – the Darfur war of 2003–5, the ongoing Syrian civil war and the ongoing Lake Chad basin crisis – as well as consideration of the history of drought impacts and climate change projections. On each of these counts the chapter shows that the evidence, and thus the grounds for concluding that climate change–induced droughts will trigger ever-more conflict in future, is remarkably thin. Picking up on the previous chapter, the chapter also explores the politics of drought–conflict discourse, showing that ‘drought’ is often an exercise in deflecting state responsibility and obscuring political agency which does little for the security of the rural poor.
This chapter is a companion to the previous one and extends many of its themes, but this time in relation to territorial frontiers. ‘Frontiers’, as understand here, are simultaneously geographically peripheral to existing centres of political and economic power, objects of outward expansion and colonisation, and home to both abundant resources and local populations who are routinely marginalised, excluded and sometimes expelled in the name of development. The chapter explores such frontier dynamics in relation to ‘water frontiers’ within Sudan, the Palestinian territories, the Lake Chad region and north-eastern Syria. It shows that frontiers are sites of extreme levels and forms of appropriation, inequality, degradation, conflict and insecurity, as well as resilience and resistance, both in general and in relation to water specifically. And the chapter closes, in line with previous ones, by turning to climate change, noting that frontiers are widely misunderstood within climate crisis discourse – and by reflecting on how they are actually likely to fare as the planet warms.
For those troubled by environmental harm on a global scale and its deeply unequal effects, this book explains how international law structures ecological degradation and environmental injustice while claiming to protect the environment. It identifies how central legal concepts such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, territory, development, environment, labour and human rights make inaccurate and unsustainable assumptions about the natural world and systemically reproduce environmental degradation and injustice. To avert socioecological crises, we must not only unpack but radically rework our understandings of nature and its relationship with law. We propose more sustainable and equitable ways to remake law's relationship with nature by drawing on diverse disciplines and sociocultural traditions that have been marginalized within international law. Influenced by Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), postcolonialism and decoloniality, and inspired by Indigenous knowledges, cosmology, mythology and storytelling, this book lays the groundwork for an epistemological shift in the way humans conceptualize the relationship between law and nature.
This chapter argues that racialised constructions of the Other deriving above all from European colonialism remain central to problems of climate, water and environmental security and insecurity, in both theory and practice. Thus on the one hand the chapter demonstrates that environmental and climate security discourse is premised on, and still today structured around, racialised assumptions about history, geography, nature and freedom. And on the other hand it shows that racialised colonial understandings of foreign peoples and their environments played a crucial role in constituting modern political identities, with reverberations for patterns of environmental security and vulnerability which are still very much with us today. This latter argument is developed through a case-by-case and comparative analysis of the historical and political–ecological origins of the major identity divisions within post-colonial Israel–Palestine, Cyprus and Sudan, this paving the way, in conclusion, for a set of reflections on the politics of identity and alterity under circumstances of accelerating climate change.
One of the standard responses to eco-crisis and environmental security narratives is that the environment can be a source of cooperation as much as of conflict, of amity, not just of enmity. This chapter interrogates this liberal rejoinder to Malthusian and eco-pessimist reasoning. The chapter critiques functionalist and related accounts of peacemaking via water cooperation and argues that water is neither innately cooperation-inducing nor particularly important within peacemaking today. It shows, moreover, that because peace processes are themselves often deeply problematic – in extreme, reproducing or radicalising pre-peacemaking divisions and attendant patterns of conflict, appropriation and inequality – so the same applies to peacebuilding and cooperation relating specifically to water. These arguments are developed through analysis of the Israeli–Palestinian Oslo peace process, the Annan process on Cyprus and Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Water scarcities, the chapter shows, have not historically been a significant force for peace; by extension, it is argued in conclusion, climate change–induced scarcities are unlikely to have such effects either.
Climate change can have various psychopathological manifestations which have been more actively addressed by scientific research only in recent years. Indeed, extreme weather events and environmental changes have been shown to be associated with a range of mental health problems. Following the destruction of ecosystems, biodiversity loss can cause mental distress and emotional responses, including so-called ‘psychoterratic’ syndromes arising from negatively felt and perceived environmental change. Studies investigating relationships between biodiversity and mental health reveal a complex landscape of scientific evidence, calling for a better understanding of this challenging issue.
This chapter examines the rules that place limits on the negative externalities of international energy transactions. It begins with a discussion of certain rules which appear in the very instruments enabling and protecting the transaction (investment, trade and transit). The advantages and disadvantages of including these ‘special’ externality-relevant rules in such instruments are analysed in the light of some illustrations. Subsequently, it examines the ‘general’ externality-relevant rules, namely those laid down in instruments whose main purpose is not the organisation of international energy transactions but the regulation of their negative externalities. The discussion is organised in four steps based on whether the relevant rules focus on cost-internalisation, prevention, response or reparation.
Fifty years of deforestation in the Arc of Deforestation have put at risk species survival, ecosystem services and the stability of biogeochemical cycles in Amazonia, with global repercussions. In response, we need to understand the diversity, distribution and abundance of flagship species groups, such as primates, which can serve as umbrella species for broad biodiversity conservation strategies and help mitigate climate change. Here we identify the range, suitable habitat areas and population size of Vieira's titi monkey Plecturocebus vieirai and use it as an emblematic example to discuss biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation in one of the largest deforestation frontiers. Our findings show that deforestation for agriculture and cattle-ranching expansion is the major threat to P. vieirai and is responsible for present (56%) and projected (14%) reductions in habitat area and population size. We also found that human-driven climate change affects the P. vieirai niche negatively, triggering habitat degradation and further population decline even inside protected areas. Primate watching can be a profitable alternative to forest exploitation on private, public or Indigenous lands in the Arc of Deforestation and is a way to shift the traditional, predatory extraction of natural resources from Amazonia towards sustainable land use based on biodiversity conservation at local, regional and global scales, local people's welfare and climate change mitigation. New models of land use and income generation are required to protect the unique natural and human heritages of the Arc of Deforestation and the life-supporting ecosystem services and products provided by Amazonia.
What are the implications of climate change for twenty-first-century conflict and security? Rising temperatures, it is often said, will bring increased drought, more famine, heightened social vulnerability, and large-scale political and violent conflict; indeed, many claim that this future is already with us. Divided Environments, however, shows that this is mistaken. Focusing especially on the links between climate change, water and security, and drawing on detailed evidence from Israel-Palestine, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere, it shows both that mainstream environmental security narratives are misleading, and that the actual security implications of climate change are very different from how they are often imagined. Addressing themes as wide-ranging as the politics of droughts, the contradictions of capitalist development and the role of racism in environmental change, while simultaneously articulating an original 'international political ecology' approach to the study of socio-environmental conflicts, Divided Environments offers a new and important interpretation of our planetary future.
Climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, such as drought and heat waves. In this paper, we assess the impact of drought and high temperatures on the employment outcomes of working-age individuals in South Africa between 2008 and 2017. We merge high-resolution weather data with detailed individual-level survey data on labor market outcomes, and estimate causal impacts using a fixed effects framework. We find that increases in the occurrence of drought reduce overall employment. These effects are concentrated in the tertiary sector, amongst informal workers, and in provinces with a higher reliance on tourism. Taken together, our results suggest that the impacts of climate change will be felt unequally by South Africa's workers.