Without resolute counteraction, climate change will overstretch many societies' adaptive capacities within the coming decades. This could result in destabilization and violence, jeopardizing national and international security to a new degree. However, climate change could also unite the international community, provided that it recognizes climate change as a threat to humankind and soon sets the course for the avoidance of dangerous anthropogenic climate change by adopting a dynamic and globally coordinated climate policy. If it fails to do so, climate change will draw ever-deeper lines of division and conflict in international relations, triggering numerous conflicts between and within countries over the distribution of resources, especially water and land, over the management of migration, or over compensation payments between the countries mainly responsible for climate change and those countries most affected by its destructive effects. Published with WBGU.
Authors include Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (head of the Potsdam Institute on Climate Change and advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel), Margareta Kulesa, Renate Schubert, Stefan Rahmstorf (all contributing authors to the IPCC) and other leading experts.