Seeing violence in the weather:the apocalyptic rhetoric of climate-driven conflict

Jackson, Stephen (2015) Seeing violence in the weather:the apocalyptic rhetoric of climate-driven conflict. In: Imagining the end. Inter-disciplinary Press, Oxford, pp. 101-126. ISBN 9781848883529

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The deeply worrying prospect of a global catastrophe frequently operates as the conceptual backdrop of rhetoric meant to convey the dangers of climate change. In recent years, however, concerns about climate change have given rise to postapocalyptic forecasts of a future where the crisis overwhelmingly shapes and propels social conflict. Such forecasts impart tremendous causal power to climate change, while simultaneously foreclosing human agency and responsibility. Although such warnings are often made by campaigners trying to raise awareness about climate change, their Hobbesian character has also found a receptive audience among defence professionals who perceive climate change as an emerging national security threat. Military think tanks, for instance, have been developing scenarios in which climate change generates terrorism, political radicalisation, and internationally-destabilizing levels of human migration. This chapter argues that this climatic turn in defence policy discourse has emerged not only out of the need to (re)legitimate hegemonic power, but also because mainstream apocalyptic rhetoric about climate change constructs the unmitigated future as a state of global emergency. To explore these concerns, I consider the interplay between popular apocalyptic rhetoric and the emerging field of climate security.

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21 Oct 2015 05:08
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21 Nov 2022 15:48