The potentially devastating consequences of climate change are well established. However, the implications for security and development—and the transformative actions that need to be undertaken to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (°C) or less, as agreed at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21)—are less clear. A group of 30 researchers, policymakers and practitioners gathered for two consecutive workshops during the 2016 SIPRI Forum on Security and Development to deepen the understanding of these implications.

The session examined two contrasting scenarios to consider distinctly different futures. The radical emissions reduction (RER) scenario depicted a future on track to meet the Paris Agreement, but where the requisite transformational changes could have significant repercussions on security and development. The high-end climate change (HCC) scenario described a future where the impacts of climate change themselves cause major security and development challenges.

Using the RER and HCC scenarios as a point of departure, workshop participants discussed the challenges associated with implementing four pre-selected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 2 on food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture; SDG 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; SDG 7 on access to affordable and clean energy; and SDG 10 on inequality. The regional implications of each scenario for oil-producing countries were also considered. Saudi Arabia was selected to highlight potential impacts of each scenario in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Nigeria was selected to examine the possible effects in West Africa.

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