Climate Change: an international crime?

Climate change flooding

A University of South Wales academic will explore how climate change is represented as an international crime – thanks to humanity’s ‘grossly inadequate’ response to the climate emergency – with research funded jointly by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

Dr Filippos Proedrou, Senior Lecturer in Global Political Economy, will work alongside Dr Maria Pournara, Lecturer in Criminology at Swansea University on the project. Dr Proedrou’s expertise in EU climate security and policy has contributed to his work as an Academic Fellow with the Welsh Parliament on Wales’ climate policy.

This research aims to investigate how representations of climate change as an international crime – also known as ecocide – tie into climate action by political stakeholders, and start to track its potential usefulness for effective policy design.

Dr Proedrou said the project seeks to allow the climate change crisis to take centre stage: “Climate change remains unabated, with humanity’s response continuing to be grossly inadequate and unfit for purpose.

“Against the background of a deteriorating climate emergency that still merits a commensurate response, this interdisciplinary project will map how criminological understandings and responses to climate change are represented in scholarly literature and the policy domain and will explore the potential impact such representations have on climate legislation.

“The study will generate new empirical data through focusing on the cases of the EU and the Climate Vulnerability Forum (CVF). The project aims to build bridges between two academic realms that remain quite disjointed; climate policy and criminology, offering valuable insights to policymakers in the Global North and the Global South.

“By mapping how the representations of climate change as a social and criminological problem evolve over time, it will provide insight into policymakers’ understanding and explore trends around future climate action and policy toolbox. It contributes, this way, to the climate justice debate, as well as to a more profound understanding of what conceptual pathways can lead to more drastic climate action.”