In the 2012 Strategic Monitor, climate change was seen as a catalyst for various security risks. Due to the melting polar ice, new shipping routes and options for resource extraction in the Arctic could open up in the future. Without clear international agreements on the use of these routes and raw materials, tensions may arise, as the previous Monitor concluded. Scarcities and natural disasters resulting from climate change could lead to migration and political and social unrest in various parts of the world. In the long run, food security and access to clean drinking water could come under strain in some parts of the world.
The exact magnitude of the above-mentioned risks is difficult to estimate given the scientific margin of error in climate science and the importance of other factors such as economic and political interests. During the past year, the impact of climate change on security risks appears to have further increased. In this chapter, we will map out the climate developments of the past year and discuss their significance for the probabilities and uncertainties of the future.