The language of ‘human security’ arose in the 1990s, including from UN work on ‘human development’. What contributions can it make, if any, to the understanding and especially the valuation of and response to the impacts of climate change? How does it compare and relate to other languages used in describing the emergent crises and in seeking to guide response, including languages of ‘externalities’, public goods and incentives, cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis? The paper examines in particular the formulations in those terms in Stiglitz’s Making Globalization Work and Stern’s The Economics of Climate Change and Blueprint for a Safer Planet, and how they are left groping for frameworks to motivate the changes required for global sustainability. It undertakes comparison also with the languages of human development and human rights, and suggests that, not least through enriching our skills of ‘narrative imagination’, the human security framework supports a series of essential changes in orientation—in our conceptions of selfhood, well-being and situatedness in Nature—and contributes towards a required greater solidarity and greater awareness of our inter-connectedness.

climate change, economic cost-benefit analysis, global public goods, global public spiritedness, human security, incentives, motivation, narrative imagination, solidarity
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
hdl.handle.net/1765/19843
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Gasper, D.R. (2010). Climate change and the language of human security. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 505, pp. 1–28). International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/19843