Securitisation of climate change and natural hazards in the UK

A number of severe weather events (1998 Easter floods; 2007 Summer floods; 2013 Heatwave; 2014 Winter storms and floods) have influenced the shift in the UK policy that covers natural hazards encouraging not only improvements in emergency management, but also in prevention and preparedness (i.e. climate change adaptation). It is notable that such hazards are increasingly securitized within the policy discourse, and are therefore enmeshed with broader agendas traditionally associated with human-induced threats. The aim of this paper is to discuss this securitisation of natural hazards and climate change, and explore the role in the UK security policy landscape. Whilst occasionally discussed together, their securitisation is complex and takes different paths: natural hazards are seen as a security threat, whereas climate change is perceived to be a risk multiplier. Although both challenges will remain salient in the near future, climate change will get less attention as its impacts are not immediate/ obvious. The impacts of natural hazards on the other hand often become a priority (reactively).

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0