The nature of conflict has evolved and contemporary research suggests that the definition of national security needs expand to include environmental threats to stability. This environmental security paradigm refers to a combination of security challenges that include climate change, adverse environmental effects, and demographic factors. This thesis examines the relationship between exposure to adverse environment factors, adaptive capacity, vulnerability and conflict. The objective is to identify places at risk to violent conflict or acute political instability triggered by environmental factors. This is important because environmental stress can destabilize a society, especially those in the developing world, because of their dependency on the environment for economic productivity and their inherent lack of adaptive capacity. India is a useful case study of the environmental security paradigm because it rests on the boundary of the developed and developing world. India is an emergent state because of its strong GDP, relatively stable governance, and self– sufficiency; nevertheless it faces challenges characteristic to many developing states. This project developed a quantitative index, the Environmental Security Index (ESI), at global, regional (South Asia), and state (India) scales to determine places most at risk to acute instability and conflict triggered by adverse environmental conditions. ArcGIS was used for all spatial analysis. The ESI uses a geometric mean to integrate normalized variables into a composite index of critical indictors to identify risk between 0.00 (place most at risk) to 4.00 (place least at risk). For the India ESI, vector and raster data were used to calculate the mean of each variable per province in ArcGIS. Zonal statistics were run for raster data to determine the mean per province. Averages were applied to vector data. The global ESI indicates that all states are at risk to instability; however, risk is clearly focused in the developing world. The India ESI suggests that while extant pressures exist, the provinces of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the most vulnerable to conflict. Governance factors are better indicators for climate change adaptation. An increase in temperature, drought, and irrigation usage exist but are not the overall determining factors for a province’s lack of adaptive capacity to exposure to climate change.
|Advisor:||Galgano, Francis A.|
|Commitee:||Henderson, Keith, Kremer, Peleg|
|Department:||Environmental Science Program|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||MAI 81/7(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Environmental science, Climate Change|
|Keywords:||Climate change, Conflict, Environmental security, Exposure, Governance, Vulnerability|
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