The Securitization of Climate Change in Australia Essay

2448 Words 10 Pages
There is little doubt left that climate change represents a tangible and time critical environmental threat to Australia. The climate change debate has gone from one of speculative conjecture and dismissal on one extreme of the political continuum, to scare mongering and doomsday prophesying on the other. Though over the past decade the climate change debate has matured significantly and has transformed into a scientifically quantifiable argument with international significance, leaving the conservative un-believers no longer with the option of outright dismissal. Now the role they play is one of questioning, countering and conducting a political auditing of the proposals, policies and action plans put forward by others.
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As successful as securitization of climate change has been in gaining formal acceptance and recognition of the issue it has also had a negative effect, which is that by and large, the response to climate change has been aimed at the current and potential future effects it will have, particularly in a national security and human security context. In other terms, the securitization of climate change has brought about a reactionary mind set, much like that of dealing with traditional security threats by countering or out maneuvering them.

Furthermore, securitization has shifted the focus from the threat to the environment and framed it as a threats arising from changes to the environment such as forced migration, resource conflict, economic and infrastructure security, setting aside the root causes of climate change to begin with. A prime example of this is the Gillard Governments Emissions Trading Scheme, which as a result of, has set Australia firmly on the path of the securitization of climate change, afforded it recognition as a legitimate threat the national security of Australia, but it also potentially means that future analysis of the issue may ignore the less direct threat it posses on a anthropogenic climate change level, due to the re-referencing of it into a security mindset and away from an environmental issue.

For Australia, perhaps more so than nearly any other country, environmental

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