G Track

The Climate Crisis and Its Threat to Security & Development

Betts Theatre


Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, Advisory Board Member, The Center for Climate and Security

Eileen Lin, Senior Corporate Engagement Advisor, Global Cities, The Nature Conservancy

Isabella Caltabiano, Research Assistant, The Wilson Center

Emily Sample, Genocide Prevention Program, George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution


The four focus areas for this session of The Youth Assembly are Human Development, Environment, Peace and Technology, however, it is increasingly clear that each of these fields is intimately connected. In particular, with the effects of climate change beginning to take a toll on the ground, it has become apparent that climate change risks driving hundreds of millions into poverty and creating a major global security threat. If land, air, and sea continue to be polluted, natural habitats unsustainably destroyed, and fish stocks diminished, the world could face dangerous shortages in food, water, and energy, which in turn could cause serious tension and the potential for conflict. This is not to mention the increased risk of disasters from climate change, which can cause sudden and drastic shortfalls of various resources. This panel will discuss just how significant a threat climate change poses to security and other fundamental human needs, as well as offering insight into how this risk might best be addressed, and the role that youth may be able to play in this process. Technology will also be included in the discussion, with an assessment of just how much hope technology gives us in mitigating these risks.

Possible Discussion Points:

  • How much effect is climate change already having on the ground in the world today?
  • How does climate change affect developing countries differently? What particular risks do developing countries face?
  • Climate change is caused by a variety of factors, including air pollution, natural habitat loss and agriculture – which aspects are most dangerous and why?
  • How exactly does climate change pose a risk to security? What is a potential conflict scenario that might pan out?
  • Recent reports have cited biodiversity, especially in the oceans, as being particularly under threat – could this lead to a security risk as well?
  • How can the security risks from climate change be avoided?
  • What is the best pathway forward for the international community to address climate change?
  • How might new technology aid efforts to mitigate climate change?
  • Does new military technology make environmental conflict more or less likely?
  • What are the best things young people can do in their communities to help with this issue?