Climate Security Agenda

The Secure and the Dispossessed

How the military and corporations are shaping a climate-changed world

Synopsis

What if government and corporate elites have given up on the idea of stopping climate change and prefer to try to manage its consequences?

The Secure and the Dispossessed shows how the military and corporations plan to maintain control in a world reshaped by climate change. With one eye on the scientific evidence and the other on their global assets, dystopian preparations by the powerful are already fuelling militarised security responses to the unfolding climate crisis.

The implications for social and environmental justice are disturbing. Adaptation to a climate-changed world is desperately needed, but it must protect the rights of all, not just provide security to the few. The authors unveil the dangerous new security agenda, and put forward inspiring alternatives that promise a just transition to a climate-changed world.

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Reviews

“This riveting analysis shows how climate change will have winners as well as losers. This is far too important to be left to the scientists.”
- Fred Pearce, New Scientist

 

“A tremendous book that shows how the few intend to profit from climate change and how the many can stop it happening.”
- John Vidal, Guardian

 

"With our politicians refusing to confront the climate crisis, some are looking with hope to the increasingly influential role being played by military planners and corporate titans. If you want to understand why we can't leave it to the Pentagon to shape our response to climate change, then you need to read this book."
- Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

 

More Reviews
"Responding to climate change is increasingly seen as a security issue not a matter of human rights and justice. As long as elite communities are protected - the proper job of the military - then security professionals are doing what they should, with the control paradigm the only way forward.

The Secure and the Dispossessed challenges that head-on, bringing together a series of excellent contributions to take apart the dangers and short-sightedness of securitising climate change. This is a badly needed book and a hugely important contribution to one of the most significant issues of our age."
- Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies, University of Bradford

 

“We're at a crucial moment. We can deal with the climate crisis either as a moment to build new global unity, or to further divide the planet between wealthy profiteering elites and everyone else. This book will help you understand the possibilities, and hopefully move to join you the fight for justice”
- Bill McKibben, Author of End of Nature, co-founder of 350.org

 

“The compelling arguments in this volume show very clearly that linking climate change to security is not the simple matter political elites now so frequently assume. As these chapters show in detail it may perpetuate precisely the dangers that we need to confront. Unless, that is, much more attention is paid to who precisely is deciding what kind of future we need to secure for which parts of humanity in a very unequal world. This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone concerned to secure ecological futures for more than just the rich and powerful few in the global system.”
- Simon Dalby, CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change at the Balsillie School of International Affairs

 

“Among the books that attempt to model the coming century, this one stands out for its sense of plausibility and danger. It examines several current trends in our responses to climate change, which if combined would result in a kind of oligarchic police state dedicated to extending capitalist hegemony. This will not work, and yet powerful forces are advocating for it rather than imagining and working for a more just, resilient, and democratic way forward. All the processes analyzed here are already happening now, making this book a crucial contribution to our cognitive mapping and our ability to form a better plan.”
- Kim Stanley Robinson, Award-winning science fiction writer

 

“A brilliantly conceived and edited volume that warns us of the dire political and ecological consequences of accepting a security rationale for the control of climate change policy that entrusts the human future to the main culprits of our era: corporate neoliberalism and geopolitical militarism.”
- Richard Falk, American Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and former Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

 

“Buxton and Hayes make clear that climate justice activists must be careful about making alliances with strange bedfellows such as the military in the fight for climate justice. While the military does recognise climate change as a threat, their solutions often create new dangers for the most vulnerable, by curtailing civil liberties and democratic space. It is the task of climate justice activists to seize the crisis as an opportunity for building a more just world -- a job that is made more difficult by partnerships with repressive institutions.”
- Payal Parekh, Global Campaigns Director, 350.org

 

"The war business is constantly on the hunt for new opportunities to profit from death. This illuminating book unveils how military and corporate planners are capitalising on the climate crisis to introduce new deadly technologies to police our borders, repress peaceful protestors and undermine human rights. But it also shows how - just as in the movement to ban landmines - ordinary people everywhere are standing up to reject violence and to propose real lasting peaceful and just solutions to the climate crisis."
- Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner, awarded for her work to ban landmines

 

“This book provides a deep and wide-ranging analysis of the securitization of climate change and its military and corporate sponsors and beneficiaries. It is must reading for activists, scholars, researchers and policymakers working to build a different kind of present and future, where peace, equality and justice are at the center of responses to climate change -- not men with guns or corporate balance sheets. The authors mount an important challenge to environmentalists willing to play the national security card in order to get more attention to climate change at the highest levels of government. The risks of such framings far outweigh the benefits.”
- Betsy Hartmann, Professor Emerita of Development Studies and Senior Policy Analyst of the Population and Development Program, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

 

“This book shows that preventing worsening climate change in the face of a business-as-usual is more urgent than ever. More importantly, it shows that the struggles for environmental justice and civil liberties, for refugee rights and #blacklivesmatter, will only be won if we unite together against a system that preserve the privileges of the few against the rights of the many.”
- Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate, Friends of the Earth

 

"While millions of people, in Transition groups, community energy groups, and many others, are looking at the climate crisis and seeing opportunity amidst the crisis, so, sadly, are other less altruistic forces. Familiarising ourselves with the madness that sees retreating ice as potential oil fields, and a warming world as a business opportunity, is vital. 'The Secure and the Dispossessed' shines a bright light into corners we'd rather avoid, and in doing so, does us a huge service".
- Rob Hopkins: Transition Network and author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff.

 

“We already see the climate crisis unfolding worldwide. How we react will be the challenge of our age. Will we respond with the politics of fear and business as usual - and in so doing condemn millions. Or will we wrest power from the corporations and the military in order to develop the radical just solutions we need. This book is an indispensable guide to the dystopian forces we must confront and the alternative just solutions we will need to advance.”
- Pablo Solón, Former Ambassador to the Plurinational Government of Bolivia and lead climate negotiator to the UN

 

“The link between security and climate-change has long been regarded by the global security status quo as a pretext for hardening security measures on local, national and international scale. Buxton and Hayes have crafted an important book that both acknowledges the climate crisis and takes a critical approach toward managing its human consequences. Climate-change—like many of the new insecurities in the news today—first and foremost reveals the social and political inequalities of our time. The Secure and the Dispossessed documents and analyses the multiple facets of the new—but perhaps actually very old—configuration of power, economic resources, social standing and political access that have shaped the most recent climate-change events. It is the first work of its kind that undertakes such a critical mapping, culminating in a set of recommendations, both wise and sharp, for addressing climate-based crises in the age of the security-industrial-media-entertainment complex."
- J. Peter Burgess, Professor of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

 

“The Secure and the Dispossessed warns of the looming ‘perfect storm’ of climate chaos, global inequality, and mass dispossession of vulnerable people - but above all exposes a growing corporate military and security complex determined to protect the worst of the status quo. Thankfully the authors also offer us a very different future rooted in justice, community rights to land, water and energy, and a sustainable peace. A powerful collection.”
- Maude Barlow, National Chair of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Future

 

"At a time when too many in the climate movement are quick to celebrate military and corporate forces acknowledging the reality of climate change, The Secure and the Dispossessed asks the critical questions about the fundamental difference between climate security and climate justice. This is an important reminder that we need to change not just our energy system, but our power structures as well."
- Tim DeChristopher, Fossil fuel abolition activist, founder of the Climate Disobedience Center

 

“This excellent and powerful book explores the rise of ‘climate security’ - a state and corporate-led reframing of climate change from a predominantly environmental and social justice paradigm into one defined primarily by military security. We should all be deeply concerned by the rise of ‘climate security’ and this important collection of essays from scholars and activists explains in graphic detail why. Buxton and Hayes have curated a deeply disturbing and compelling analysis in which environmental crisis, unbridled neoliberalism and militarism are converging to ignite global conflicts and normalise exceptional security regimes.”
- Penny Green, Professor of Law and Globalisation at Queen Mary University of London and Director of the International State Crime Initiative

 

"This is a great contribution to the much-needed connection between war and climate chaos. "
- Medea Benjamin, award winning peace activist, founder of Code Pink and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by remote control

 

"In responding to climate change, not all actors are equal: while most of us (and especially the poor) will suffer egregiously, many corporations and military organizations will seek to benefit from the devastation. There's no better guide to these differentiated responses than The Secure and the Dispossessed. Each chapter provides valuable insights into the social and economic dimensions of the unfolding climate catastrophe."
- Michael Klare, author of The Race for What's Left

 

“This is the missing link the climate justice movement has needed, mainly without knowing it: the corporatisation and militarisation of our changing weather. Given how much the Pentagon and firms like Shell are investing in their own secretive research, and given the free-to-pollute pass that the world's militaries get during UN climate summits, it is vital for us all to learn what Buxton and Hayes eloquently explain in this excellent book.”
- Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and author of Politics of Climate Justice.

 

Crowdfunders

This book would never have happened if it had not been for an amazing group of crowdfunders who put their trust in our idea and helped finance its productionn. A special thanks to all the individual funders, known and unknown, who made this book possible.

 

Caroline Clark, Maxim Narbrough, Travis Driessen, Julian Jacobs,  Anuradha Vittachi, Dan Boorman, Helen Wolfson, Dan Montuschi, Sara Rogers, Beatriz Martinez, Greg Wright, Dixon Caspar, N. Capellini, Julian Filochowski,  Payal Parekh, Mauricio Vargas, Dave Patterson, Kathryn Johnson, John Adams, Kara Moore O’Leary, Theresa Wolfwood, Matthew Hodson, Ralph Suikat, William Carroll, Fred Faust, Dan Caines, Tom and Katy Buxton, Chris Venables, Nicola Rogers, David Heath, Katharine Collenette, Adam Boulter, Jason Gehrig, Tom Kruse, Maximilian Leroux, Julia Ruxton, Joanna Bernie, Maia Baconguis, Nina Iszatt, Larry Lohmann, Ben Lowe, Lia van Wijk, Martin Roberts, Rita Huybens Gonzalo Berron, Michael Klare, Sally Hill, John Farrar, Mike Gould, Monisha Bhaumik, Alan Dube, Sabrina Aguiari, Brid Brennan, Sarah Garden, Peter Wright, Nuria Del Viso, Ben Dangl Esther Lexchin, Yonit Percival, Jolyon White, Kris Abrams, David Alexander, Kristian Smith, Amira Armenta, Nicolien Scholtens, Kevin Odell, Bernard Meijfroidt, Michel Fleur, Nele Marien, Barbara Crowther, Mary Light, James and Kari Stewart, Angela Burton, Peter Carter, Catherine Dilley, Fergus McInnes, András Novoszáth, Ignace van der Meijden, Sarah Barfoot,  James Smith, Ulrich Karthaus, Steve McGiffen, Louis Reynolds, Lindsay Simmonds, Steffen Boehm, Daniel Chavez, Bill Powers  and Melissa Draper, Peter Stone, Donna McGuire, Franz Bonsema, Rafael Alejandro Salvador, Gerrit Stegehuis, Trevor McDermott, Martina Weitsch, Kirsten Moller, Deb Mason, Joachim Rollhaeuser, Cindy Blaney, Aidan Patrick White, Liz Scurfield, Grietje Baars, Saleh Mamon, Linda McPhee, Jean Jackman, Kathrin Barta, Claire Black Slotton, Luis Sierra, Susan Bizeau, Elisabeth Robbins, Julian Eaton, Nina Iszatt, Corinne Voilquin, Francis Buxton, Linda Farthing, David Hallowes, Jeff Rudin, Alexander Leipold, Rejo Zenger, Aaron Nitzkin, Barry Gills, Marlene Barrett, Jonathan Brough and the many anonymous donors or those who didn’t leave a  full name.

The Authors

Nicholas Buxton

Editor

Nick is Communications Manager for the Transnational Institute.

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Ben Hayes

Editor

Ben is a Fellow of the Transnational Institute and an independent researcher.

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Susan George

Foreword

Susan is President of the Board at Transnational Institute.

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Christian Parenti

Author

Christian is an author, journalist and teaches in New York University’s Global Liberal Studies program. He has published four books, the most recent being, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011).

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Justin Kenrick

Author

Justinis a research fellow in social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, a member of SASI (the St Andrews Sustainability Initiative), the ASA, AAA, EASA and CASCA, and contributes to the Bella Caledonia and Bright Green websites, as well as to Transition Scotland.

Hilary Wainwright

Author

Hilary is a leading researcher and writer on the emergence of new forms of democratic accountabilitywithin parties, movements and the state. She is the driving force and editor behind Red Pepper, a popular British new left magazine.

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Nnimmo Bassey

Author

Nnimmo is a Nigerian architect, environmentalist activist, author and poet, who chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012. He is a co-winner of the Right Livelihood Award and Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, an environmental think tank and advocacy organization.

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Mary Ann Manahan

Author

Mary Ann is a feminist researcher and activist at Focus on the Global South where she works on issues related to land, food, agrarian reform, water, and reclaiming the commons. She co-authored the book, State of Fragmentation: The Philippines in Transition (2014).

Jacklyln Cock

Author

Jacklyn is a Professor Emerita in Sociology and Honorary Research Professor
BA (Hons), PhD (Rhodes) and has published widely on issues relating to gender, environmental and militarisation issues.

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Oscar Reyes

Author

Oscar is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and a freelance consultant focussing on climate finance. His published work includes the co-authored book Carbon Trading: how it works and why it fails (2009).

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Zoe Brent

Author

is a researcher on agrarian justice issues and a fellow at Food First, Institute for Food & Development Policy in Oakland, California. Her recent papers include Territorial restructuring and resistance in Argentina (2015) and Contextualising food sovereignty: the politics of convergence among movements in the USA (2015).

April Humble

Author

April is a scientific researcher and a writer on climate change, border security, human security and migration. She currently works at the secretariat for the Earth League and the Climate Service Centre in Germany.

Platform Collective

Author

Platform is an arts, activism, education and research organisation supporting and engaged in struggles for social and ecological justice. Contributors to the chapter include Emma Hughes, Anna Galkina, Mika Minio-Paluello, Mel Evans, Kevin Smith and the Platform Collective.

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Steve Wright

Author

Steve is a professor at Leeds Beckett University and an expert on technologies of political control, including new policing systems such as sub-lethal weapons systems, torture technologies and surveillance. His books include Cyberwar, Netwar and the Revolution in Military Affairs (2006).

Nafeez Ahmed

Author

Nafeez is an author, investigative journalist and international security scholar. His books include Zeropoint (2014), A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010) and The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (2006).

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Mark Akkerman

Author

Mark is a researcher at the Campagne tegen Wapenhandel, the Dutch Campaign against Arms Trade. His reports in Dutch include Piracy, Private Security and the Arms trade (2013) and The Rise of Mercenaries – Private services in the military and security sector (2011).

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Silvia Ribeiro

Author

Silvia is a journalist, campaigner and the Latin America Director for ETC group and on the editorial committee of the Latin American magazine Biodiversidad, sustento y culturas. She writes regularly for the newspaper La Jornada in Mexico.

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Kathy Jo Wetter

Author

Kathy-Jo is a researcher for ETC Group and has contributed to their analyses of the ownership, control, social and environmental impacts of new technologies, including nanotechnology, synthetic biology and geoengineering.

Annie Shattuck

Author

Annie is a Fellow at Food First and co-author of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice (2010).

Tom Henfrey

Author

Tom has been active in Transition since 2008 and is a co-founder and co-coordinator of the Transition Research Network, coordinator of the Project 'Connection, Participation and Empowerment in Community-based Research'

The Publishers

Pluto Press

Publisher

Based in London, Pluto Press is one of the world’s leading radical publishers, specialising in progressive, critical perspectives in politics and the social sciences.

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Transnational Institute

Publishing Partner

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet. For more than 40 years, TNI has served as a unique nexus between social movements, engaged scholars and policy makers.

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