Climate Change and Ecological Security

Tuesday 3 November 2015


Tuesday 3 November 2015, University of Glasgow 

Seminar: Matt McDonald of the University of Queensland, one of the leading lights in contemporary Critical Security Studies, will deliver a paper entitled Climate Change and Ecological Security.  

5:30 pm | Room 916 Adam Smith Building

Climate Change and Ecological Security (Glasgow)

There is increasing recognition in scholarship on the relationship between climate change and security that the way this relationship is understood varies significantly. These varied climate security discourses have different conceptions of the nature of the threat posed, but most importantly encourage vastly different policy responses, ranging from national adaptation strategies to globally-oriented mitigation action. Given these differences, it becomes important not simply to outline differences but also to consider whether we can identify progressive climate security discourses: discourses underpinned by defensible ethical assumptions and encouraging effective practical responses to climate change. Here I make a case for an ecological security discourse, one that orients towards ecosystem resilience and the rights and needs of the most vulnerable across space (populations of developing worlds), time (future generations) and species (other living beings). Such a discourse, I suggest, is both morally more defensible than other security discourses and most likely to encourage practices oriented towards redressing the problem of climate change itself. This paper notes the limits of existing accounts of climate security before outlining the contours of an ‘ecological security discourse’ regarding climate change.

Dr Matt McDonald

Matt McDonald is a Reader in International Relations in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia. He completed his undergraduate, Masters and PhD degrees at UQ. He has previously been Lecturer in International Relations at UNSW and the University of Birmingham (UK), Associate Professor in International Security at the University of Warwick (UK), and a Visiting Fellow at ANU. His research interests are in the area of critical theoretical approaches to security and their application to environmental change and Australian foreign and security policy. He has published on these themes in a range of edited books and in journals such as European Journal of International Relations, Political GeographyReview of International StudiesInternational Political Sociology and Security Dialogue. He is the author of Security, the Environment and Emancipation (Routledge, 2011), co-author (with Anthony Burke and Katrina Lee-Koo) of Ethics and Global Security (Routledge, 2014) and co-editor (with Anthony Burke) of Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific (Manchester UP, 2007)

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