The new geopolitics of climate change

The power of fossil-fuel independence

2023 was the hottest year on record. Climate change is rapidly changing the natural world and will soon also change the world order. Temperature increases may initially benefit some countries, making agriculture possible in previously barren lands. But what will ultimately determine the future balance of power is the degree of dependence on fossil fuels, argues Simon Dalby.


Record breaking weather events in numerous parts of the world in 2023 have made it clear that climate change is accelerating. Floods, droughts, heat waves and hurricanes demonstrated that repeated disruptions to agriculture, trade and production are to be expected in coming years. Sea ice in polar regions is receding, so too are glaciers in most parts of the world. The geographical patterns of the recent past are changing, and with them many aspects of human affairs, including agriculture, trade and finance.

An ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer, something that is coming into view, wil

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