What is the greatest threat to international peace today?

 Yasmin Tarika Davé

Despite the rise in advanced technological weaponry with its ability to discriminate and eliminate targets from a remote control, one must regard climate change as the greatest threat to international peace. As typical it may seem to cite, climate change is indeed a “crisis multiplier” that affects all areas of society with less developed countries feeling its effects through climate-related disasters (United Nations, 2021). For the purposes of this essay, peace will be defined as a human and planetary coexistence in a shared biosphere and ecosystem. Thus, this essay will argue that climate change and its repercussions pose the greatest threat to international peace through the intertwinement of global health of environment and people alongside the geo-politics of security as a threat to peace. 

Nuclear Warfare could be considered the greatest threat to international peace as its usage results in the immediate elimination of both humans and environmental systems. The likelihood of such an event occurring is arguably increased through the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which poses a threat to European peace and security as it reduces the maintenance of arms security control in the world (Robinson, 2019). Further suggesting how the greatest threat to international peace is the lessening of regulation for nuclear weapons around the globe as it results in increased stockpiling. As long as any state retains nuclear weapons, others will want them for various reasons such as having their own force against perceived threats or to buy immunity from attack in the case of weak states (Evans, 2010). Nevertheless, one cannot discount the very current threat of climate change, though it may have gradual effects dissimilar to nuclear weapons. Climate changes’ effects remain imminent and real unlike the possibility of nuclear warfare. Furthermore, Climate change remains the greatest threat to international peace; that is no longer contained to just environmental repercussions but also exacerbates pre-existing social inequalities that further jeopardize global health. 

Climate change continues to be a threat to international peace as it disrupts and contributes to the degradation of global health. Climate change causes extreme weather conditions, resulting in dried rivers, reduced harvests whilst destroying critical infrastructure for poorer communities, who suffer the most but contribute the least to global warming. Moreover, the ways in which climate change produces climate-related emergencies has the potential to cause major disruptions in access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, resulting in loss of livelihoods and drives displacement and migration (United Nations, 2021). It's clear that such disruption disproportionately affects women as their access to infrastructure is diminished and remains un-prioritized on the international agenda. Similarly, other climate-related disasters such as rising seas compromises drinking water and human waste water treatment that, in turn, results in an increased risk of waterborne diseases caused by pathogens such as bacteria and viruses (Introcaso, 2018). Thus, bringing humanity closer to pandemic causing diseases that continues to disrupt peace today. In addition, the global economy is arguably sustained on capital produced through the trade and use of fossil fuels, which causes global warming, contributing to increased climate change. As such, climate change is the greatest threat to international peace as the dependency of fossil fuels in the economy makes it increasingly difficult to phase them out. Furthermore, climate change is a threat to peace as there is yet a suitable replacement to fill the gap that fossil fuels would leave so it has the potential to cause conflict. Furthermore, climate change and its repercussions pose a threat to international peace as it disrupts and jeopardizes global health in how it can place humanity closer to pandemic-causing diseases, which destabilized peace and exacerbated various social inequalities as proven through Covid-19. 

Climate change remains a threat to international peace as it alters the geopolitics of security to increase the possibility of conflict. Climate change transforms the ways security is thought about as it is against a natural threat that causes scarce resources. Whether its energy, water or arable land, such new conflicts could lead to a breakdown in previously established codes of conduct and conflict (Parry, n.d). As supported by Boris Johnson, who states that climate change is a geopolitical issue, every bit as much as an environmental one (United Nations, 2021). As such, stressing how its management of climate change is a matter of peace and security worldwide (Ibid). Moreover, it's become increasingly apparent that climate change has consequences that reach the very heart of the security agenda; flooding, disease and famine, which results in migration on an unprecedented scale in areas of already high tension in regions, where resources are already scarce (Parry, n.d). Further, leading to the possibility of resource shortages as the temperature increases to affect various harvests around the world but also political and economic tensions as competition for the same resources also increases. Though it is important to remember that whilst climate change can lead to security challenges, there are no specialised security solutions except climate action to eliminate fossils from the economy and invest money into climate-adaptation measures and technologies. Furthermore, Climate change remains the penultimate threat to international peace as an unstable climate will create new kinds of tensions and conflicts at a more frequent and severe rate. 

To conclude, whilst there are various threats to international peace, the greatest must be climate change as it destabilizes existing infrastructure that humanity depends on. Further compromising both security in the economy and global public health whilst exacerbating pre-existing social qualities to fuel greater conflict. No other threat equates to the severity of climate change as it has extreme and far-reaching consequences if collective action is not taken now.