In the 21st century, the security of nations will increasingly depend on the security of natural resources, or “natural security.” This concept paper outlines a new program of study at the Center for a New American Security to look at emerging natural resources challenges in six key areas of consumption and consequences – energy, minerals, water, land, climate change, and biodiversity – as well as the ways in which these challenges are linked together. Any solution to the country’s energy insecurity is likely to involve water, non-fuel minerals, and land-use issues; climate change and biodiversity cut across all concerns, with broad effects on resource vulnerability. Without an integrated, national-level approach that links together natural security challenges, the United States runs the risk of trading one dependency for another and exacerbating the consequences.
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