Analysis of the Impacts of Climate Change and its Challenges and Opportunities on Regional Crisis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Razi University, Iran

2 PhD Candidate in Political Science, Isfahan University, Isfahan, Iran


Talking about controversy and conflict over scarce resources among individuals as well as states is an issue that has long been of interest to scholars and experts of economics, politics, psychology, biology, etc. This is clearly evident especially in view of the realism school and thinkers such as Thucydides, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Followers such as Morgenthau, Waltz, and Kissinger. Anarchic international system, state-centered, effort to obtain, maintain and increase the power, rationality and calculation of cost-benefit, struggle to survive and self-reliance are the most important characteristics and components of the realist school in international relations. In this school, states as like as individuals, are looking for their own interests and thus evaluate profits and losses at every action. Then, if the benefits overtake their losses, they will go to war. Since international system is considered as competitive and anarchic, then, chaos, tension, crisis and insecurity will frequently occur around the world. This paper attempts to study the impact of the challenges and opportunities resulting from climate change on the creation and spread of regional crisis between the states around the world. It attempts to answer a basic question namely "What will be the future impact of climate change, particularly in the regional-scale crisis?" The hypothesis that has been proposed in response to the question is "challenges and opportunities rising from climate change allow initially the renewal and intensification of chronic conflicts and crisis in tropical areas around the equator, and on the other hand will create the formation of new tensions and crisis in the areas near the north and south poles."
With regard to the purpose of this research that is "analysis of the impacts of climate change and its challenges and opportunities on regional crisis", we have used descriptive and analytical method in this paper. This is completed by tables, charts, maps, statistics and numbers. It is done in the framework of realism theory.
Results and Discussion
Findings suggest that the recent increase in greenhouse gas emissions is resulted from both rapid population growths and the intensification of economic and industrial activities. This has caused climate change on a global scale. Temperature rise, sea level rise and change in precipitations, as the main consequences of climate change, have faced human with challenges and some new opportunities. For example, today the shortage of freshwater and food resources, the outbreak of infectious diseases and migration are challenges involved in tropical and developing countries around the equator. These areas are southern, northern and central Africa, southern sections of north America (Mexico and Central America), northern zone of south America and red sea into the Middle East and Mesopotamia where it is connected to Central Asia, including Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan and western sector of South Asia, East Asia, north of the Tibetan highlands, in Xinjiang and the Gobi desert. In contrast, it is anticipated that in the coming decades, melting massive icebergs and permanent glaciers and also the reduction of extreme cold in the polar regions, particularly the Arctic region will prepare new opportunities and favorable conditions (such as the extraction of valuable mineral sources, undiscovered energy reserves, animals, food, and also the provision of access to virgin lands and new communication ways) for living in these areas. The developed countries located around the North Pole, such as northern sector of North America and Nordic countries such as Denmark (Greenland), Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, Canada and the United States (Alaska) will be beneficent more than other states in Central Asia such as Mongolia, Siberia, Xinjiang, Tibet and northern china and Russia and the areas previously governed by the Soviet Union. Obviously these challenges and opportunities each will result in the intensification of existing hostilities, conflicts and tensions and will cause a new series of hostilities between states, with varying degrees of severity, amplitude and depth. Thus, regional changes will be gendered and international security will face the new challenges with serious threats.
It seems that the type and intensity of conflicts and wars caused by climate change in different regions is not the same and especially countries located in the Arctic regions are benefited from the opportunities and benefits of global warming more than other regions. However, the higher the temperature, the greater is the threats and damage and the less the opportunities. Therefore, these threats and damage will not remain an opportunity to take advantages of opportunities. Eventually, most of the world will involve in crisis and then tensions will be universal. Some regions will be safe of its lethal effects and consequences.
In fact, the occurrence of natural disasters such as the devastating earthquake in Bam in 2003, the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, American Katrina Hurricane in 2005, the Myanmar Cyclone in 2008, Pakistan floods, record heat wave in Russia, Vesuvius activity in Iceland, Congo, Guatemala, Ecuador and Philippines, all in 2010 and the recent earthquake and then tsunami in Japan in 2011 proved that even developed countries cannot be resistant against the threats of climate change. These are just a few examples of natural disasters that have occurred as a result of global warming and have transformed the concept of security in the 21st century into a new concept. Because today, unlike the past, the concept of security in the international system is not defined with boundaries, ranges and borders, and it is not only supported by military also the threat against it comes from our own not others. Therefore, fight against this enemy to eliminate this threat will require broad cooperation between states. It is especially necessary that superpower and developing states cancel many large industrial and commercial projects. Otherwise, you should look forward the crises and conflicts resulted from climate change in most regions of the world.


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