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Climate-related Security Risks in the 2020 Updated Nationally Determined Contributions

Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
January, 2021

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are the central instrument for states to communicate their con­tribution to the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change and reflect their wider approach to climate mitigation and adaptation. This SIPRI Insights paper analyses how the 2020 updated NDCs (16 submissions as of October 2020) discuss climate-related security risks and compares them with 2015. It finds that climate change is mainly seen as a risk to socio-economic development and human security and almost never as a risk to societal stability or the functioning of the state. The assessment of risks in NDCs largely focuses on direct climate impacts. This suggests that countries are currently not considering the risks from indirect climate impacts, including those that cross national borders, or the unintended adverse con­sequences of adaptation or mitigation responses. Going forward, countries will need to take account of the multi­faceted and transboundary character of climate risks in their NDCs in order to meet global expectations and goals.


I. Introduction

II. The role and mandate of nationally determined contributions

III. Climate-related security risks in the updated nationally determined contributions

IV. Conclusions and ways forward: Thinking climate risk beyond borders


Dr Elise Remling is an Associate Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Climate Change and Risk Programme.
Amar Causevic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a Research Assistant at the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on examining the connections between emerging artificial intelligence technologies, financial markets and the biosphere. In addition, he conducts research observing the nexus between climate change and security.