Climate Change Conference: Focusing on the impact of climate change on security

COP26 UN Climate Change Conference

COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, © Picture alliance / ZUMAPRESS.com | Dinendra Haria

31.10.2021 - Article

Storms, drought, floods – climate change has devastating consequences. Human-induced global warming not only affects the environment but also has a huge impact on security. COP26 is therefore also focusing on the risks of climate change for peace and security.

Whether extreme weather events or increasingly scarce resources, climate change is a catalyst for conflict and instability. Global warming is endangering the livelihoods of millions of people. The consequences are humanitarian disasters, displacement and migration and increasing conflicts concerning resources – whether about access to water or to land. In the context of the Climate Change Conference, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised:

Germany has made climate change diplomacy one of the priorities of its foreign policy. We are providing humanitarian assistance for countries suffering from the consequences of extreme weather events. And we are tackling the risks that climate change poses to peace and security.

The Federal Government is therefore also using diplomatic means to ensure that significant progress is made at COP26 on implementing the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, for example by encouraging states that have not so far done so to submit additional ambitious climate protection goals, by establishing international markets for emissions trading and by concluding the so-called Katowice rulebook, which contains concrete rules on implementing the Paris Climate Agreement. The EU and the Federal Republic of Germany recently increased their climate change goals once again, and by so doing set global standards. Together with partners, the Federal Government worked to urge other states likewise to set themselves ambitious climate change goals and to pledge their support for the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Climate and security on the international agenda

Climate diplomacy works to anchor the security policy risks posed by climate change in the international agenda. To this end, Germany, together with Nauru and others, established a Group of Friends on Climate and Security at the United Nations in New York and made climate and security one of the focal issues of Germany’s membership of the Security Council in 2019/2020. In 2020, an Informal Expert Group comprising members of the Security Council was formed at Germany’s initiative, and the issue of climate and security anchored in the agenda of the Security Council. The risks that climate change poses for security will also be discussed in the context of COP26.

On 2 November 2021, the Federal Foreign Office is organising a digital conference on climate, peace and security together with the Munich Security Conference and adelphi. This will focus on creating resilience and preventing climate-related conflicts. In 2020, Germany launched a comprehensive project on analysing and dealing with global climate security risks entitled “Weathering risk”.


Top of page