The Role of Global Warming in Geopolitical Developments of International System

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Tehran, Iran

2 MSc., Geomorphology, University of Tehran, Iran

3 PhD. Candidate, Climatology, University of Tabriz, Iran


In the recent decades, the world has been faced by a variety of critical, economic, social, political, and some other issues. The increase of environmental crisis and global warming is the most important environmental challenges in the world. According to Public Forum on Climate Change (IPCC), the average of surface temperature increased approximately 0.2 to 0.6˚ Cg during the past century. According to predictive climate models outputs, the air temperature trend will be increased from 1.4 to 3.3˚ Cg until the year 2100. Thus, in the recent decades global warming is one of the most important issues in the global system on the earth and it has attracted the attention of many governments and international powers. Now that global warming has become one of the main factors in the competition to increase or reduce the greenhouse gases in the global system. This study has attempted to analyze the concepts of global warming and its consequences. The geopolitics of global warming issues will be studied. In other words, the conceptual framework of this paper is reviewing the responses to the problem and the competition of nations and powers against the effects of global warming. This research also analyses the views of countries according to their geopolitical position against the global warming.  
The structure of this study is based on an analysis of the role of global warming effects on geopolitical developments in the global system. In order to understand the context of global warming on geopolitical developments in the international system, the change of temperature and sea level is simulated using a general circulation model outputs and emission scenario of P50. The downscaling software was MAGICC SCENGEN. Then, using descriptive-analytical method based on literature studies, the impacts of global warming on geopolitical developments in the global system has been analyzed. The approach is based on the concept of adaptive challenges and opportunities in terms of geopolitical powers.
Results and discussion
According to outputs of General Circulation Models (GCMs) and based on P50 climate emission scenario (that is the average of pessimistic scenario), the mean of global temperature in year 2100 will increase approximately 3.2˚Cg compared to year 1990. This rate will be varying from 1.5 to 5˚ Cg in different regions of the world. What is important in term of geopolitical perspective will be consequence of global warming including rising temperature that lead to sea level rise up to 40 Cm. The rate of the sea level rise in different areas of the world will vary from 15 to 57 Cm. Basically, the role of global climate change in the geopolitical developments is associated with the geographical position of countries in the world with different effects. Because the perspective of the countries that are in high latitudes, such as Russia and Canada, would be different from island countries such as Britain. Another consequence of global warming is melting of glaciers in arctic. This will be as a source of freshwater for countries on arctic such as Russia and the countries will have the more favorable potential to trade in northern ports. In contrast, it would result in fundamental damages to tropical and island countries and the Middle East.
In this study, the environmental implications of global warming and its effects in terms of geopolitics have been studied. Concepts that have been studied in this research include: the role of global warming in geopolitical developments in the global system and the relationship between the geopolitical importance of countries and consequences of the global warming. According to the results of simulation in air temperature changes in year 2100, the different regions of the world will be affected by rising temperature and rising of sea level in deferent values. Generally, the global warming will affect the natural resources (biological, ecological resources, water and soil) and human systems (e.g., economic, migration). Such conditions would affect revenue of the countries. What this article is taken is the consequence of unequal distribution of rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and etc. in different countries of the world. It will be due to the geopolitical position of the countries of continental, marine, coastal, and longitude position. This condition would cause different foreign policy and often conflicts between powers of the world. As a result, the global geopolitical system will undergo significant changes in the future decades. Therefore, international cooperation and comprehensive participation of all the countries in the global geopolitical system are the solution to achieve a balance in the global geopolitical system. That will be the adoption of local management in each country to the problem and determination of the best strategy to combat global warming.


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