International Aspects of Environmental Geopolitics

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof. in Political Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran

2 Ph.D. Candidate in Political Geography, Tarbiat Modares University

3 M.Sc. in Political Geography, Shahid Beheshti University


Extended Abstract
Human capabilities in maintenance of their living space or in destruction of its prospects in
relation to natural conditions create a balanced ecosystem. This states the fact that human is the
main factor of the destructions, composition, and disorder in the areas of biological and Bio
geographic issues. It is now understood that governments and the nations in the world should be
thinking about preserving the planet earth and its environment, not just preserving their
countries. This thinking has become increasingly global and it seems it is in serious
consideration of government. Hence, development of the environmental crisis and its
consequences on the patterns of interaction and cooperation, or the conflict between groups of
men and political actors has been the main factor that geopolitical experts and experts of this
knowledge pay attention to the environmental problems. So this subject is interpreted as one of
the schools of green geopolitics. Now it seems necessary to consider the dimensions of
geopolitical environmental issues and global problems.
The main method of this study was a descriptive-analytical approach that has been carried out
using a literature review in library data. The main question of this research is that what threats
and security issues the geopolitical environment of regional and global scale in the twenty-first
century is faced with? In line with this question important presumptions are mentioned, 
including the impact of human societies on the form and physical function of the earth is
reached to the extent that is of geopolitical nature in global and regional scale. It seems to be
point of focus by countries and global and regional powers in the field of security threats and
issues in the twenty first century.
Results and Discussion
Concerns about global politics of the environmental issues includes the capacity of governments
to address climate warming, ozone layer destruction and other global issues, potential of
international are effective cooperation, satisfaction of environmental movements, multinational
corporations to develop strategies and to pursue limited policies in regional and global scale.
Doubts about the law of international institutions and existing regimes can help cultural
development. There are also concerns about the inability of the international regimes to deal
effectively with governments and other organizations not capable of obeying environmental
standards. For example, countries like the United States and China have been warned that if
they don’t implement their commitments upon the reduction of gas emissions, they will face the
action of NGOs that are ready to face confront action and pressure against those who violate
international obligations. In this regard, the UN Conference in Stockholm about serious
attention to international nature of environmental destruction, in the article21, states that
governments cannot damage the environment in their own sovereign. But they have the right to
extract resources within their own borders. Thus, a series of international rules have emerged
during the twentieth century to limit the right of dominant countries in the negative and
destructive effects on the environment of the earth. Some times these rules appear in the form of
bilateral or multilateral agreements. However, realization of these types of commitments usually
requires the participation of the countries that are responsible for this subject. Although some of
industrialized countries have showed resistance toward accepting responsibility, sanctions or
compensation. Developing countries also have experienced damages from significant decrease
in the fertility of the land due to soil erosion, deforestation and other forms of environmental
degradation. You can be assured that if the rate of economic losses caused by environmental
degradation in key developing countries increases in the decades ahead, the economic health of
the whole world will be affected.
Accordingly, if in line with the industrialization of a society, such an important issue of the
environment is not considered, not only the economic development will not be achieved, but a
lot of damages will be experienced that sometimes can often cause the benefits of an industrial
activity for the community, in the long run, to be spent in compensation for the damages.
Environmental security gets connected with any threat abroad to their environmental spaces,
so that public policies can have influence on that. Security environmental advocates believe that
the increasing pressure on safeguard systems of renewable natural resources and life, for health
and human welfare as well as traditional military threats are serious. In this view, some
researchers and policy makers believe that the environment security in terms of its inherent
characteristicsis is more of a global phenomenon than a national one. Since the environmental
threats affect all human beings, so it requires a collective cooperation on global scale.
In the recent years, geopolitics is profoundly concerned with environmental issues. For the
governments and nations have reached the consciousness that they should think of the
environmental issues as one of the most suitable strategies to obtain peace and comfort and to
eliminate conflicts among themselves. The geopolitical environmental developments have never
attracted attention and concern of governments and organizations as it is in the recent years.
It was expected that human, every day more than the day before, could become a rational
and conscious power that can maintain and develop contents of valuable environment and try to
its improvement. Instead, it seems that increasingly man has become a powerful factor that acts
as unconsidered and confused. Another factor should be managed based on this approach, in
addition to environmental degradation and transformation, the risks and threats that are posed
for the system of national government and environmental threats to security should also be
considered. The threats to environmental security are expressed only when they just threaten
national security.


Main Subjects

Volume 45, Issue 3 - Serial Number 3
October 2013
Pages 121-146
  • Receive Date: 13 May 2012
  • Revise Date: 21 September 2013
  • Accept Date: 17 October 2012
  • First Publish Date: 23 September 2013