Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This chapter offers a review of the literature in the field of critical security studies in order to discuss the various social constructions of climate change as a security issue and their policy implications. Will climate security discourse facilitate climate mitigation policy? First, the Copenhagen School asks whether extraordinary measures to protect the climate (including emission reductions) are legitimized as a result of security speech acts by elites, but cannot find any successful ‘securitization.’ A second approach analyses security discourses by referent objects, distinguishing human security, national security, international security and ecological security discourses, each of which is linked a priori to certain policy implications. It argues that human security discourse could facilitate climate mitigation action, but that it is unfortunately not the dominant discourse. Third, a governmentality analysis asks how changing constructions of danger evoke different modes of securing. A governmentality perspective shows that the construction of climate change as inevitable climate ‘terror’ has facilitated resilience thinking and adaptation policies rather than mitigation action. Fourth, a post-politics approach suggests that security discourse is in fact a populist endeavor, externalizing the problem of climate change and thereby leaving the capitalist system of production unchanged.


  • Angela Oels
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Climate Governance
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781783470600
ISBN (Print)9781783470594
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch