Climate Security at the UN and in the United States, 2007-2020: The Contradictory Leadership and Silence of the US

Type: Chapter

Description: This chapter discusses the different perceptions of climate security that existed and influenced United States policy from 2007 to 2020. While in many ways a leader in the development
of concepts linking climate change to security, the US view was highly complex and contradictory on multiple levels. The most visible political views on climate security largely hid the discussion in the federal government during critical years, even while federal agencies continued to take the associated risks into account in planning, and state, local and non-profit institutions grew increasingly concerned over the pace and scale of climate change impacts. The chapter outlines how differing concepts of national, ecological, and human security influenced US policy toward the United Nations – especially in
the context of the United Nations Security Council – and other international relations, and how by 2020 they intersected with disinformation, the Covid-19 pandemic, and overwhelming climate-related events. The analysis is based on primary climate strategy documents from the US government and different institutions, as well as secondary sources and analysis on topics of climate security. Examination of the US policy discussions and networks concludes that the US can, at times, be a leader in concepts of climate security, but lacks the domestic political ability to link such warnings to climate mitigation and adaptation policies.

Author: Chad M. Briggs

Published In: Climate Security in the Anthropocene, pp.319-345

Edited by: Judith Nora Hardt, Cameron Harrington, Franziskus von Lucke, Adrien Estève, Nicholas P. Simpson

Published by: Springer 

Date: May 2023

Pages: 26

Publication Page:


  • Environmental Security
  • Human Security
  • National Security
  • International Security

Related Organisations: United States Mission to the United NationsUnited Nations Security Council