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A Climate of Terror? Approaches to the Study of Climate Change and Terrorism


Climate change is one of the most significant global issues of our time. In a recent United Nations Security Council Meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that “no one is safe from the destructive effects of climate disruption.” The ongoing gravity of stresses to the global climate system is increasingly understood as “unequivocal” and “unprecedented” as rapid and widespread climatic variability occurs. Moreover, accelerating rates of anthropogenic environmental change engender novel human security threats. Increased severity and frequency of natural disasters, land degradation, diminishing biodiversity, extreme weather, and many other environmental insecurities pose great societal risks. There is growing acknowledgment within the national security, research, and policy communities and among the private sector that climate change acts as a “threat multiplier.” As a threat multiplier, climate change has the potential to exacerbate existing social, political, and economic tensions aggravating societal vulnerabilities. These tensions and vulnerabilities manifest in numerous and often unforeseen ways but can increase the likelihood of fragility and violent conflict in a given context.

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Full Citation:

Henkin, Samuel D., Marcus Boyd, and Madeline Romm. 2022. "A Climate of Terror? Approaches to the Study of Climate Change and Terrorism." College Park, MD: START (May).  https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/Climate_Change_Overview_FINAL.pdf