18 May 2022

Ole Wæver inaugural lecture at the University of Helsinki

Climate Change

Ole Wæver held his inaugural lecture as visiting professor at the University of Helsinki. In the lecture he gave his view on what happens, when non-military issues like climate change become security threats.

On 12 May 2022 Ole Wæver held his inaugural lecture as Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor in the study of contemporary society working at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. The theme of the lecture, "Climate change as a security issue", posed a challenge to the founder of securitisation theory:

The theory suggests that by labelling non-military issues as "security issues", societies can use extraordinary measures to ward off the threat.

“The theory basically says that ideally things should be dealt with on their own terms. Environmental issues as environmental issues, religion as religion and so on.,” Wæver stated in a Finnish interview before the lecture. But how do users of the theory react, when the empirical reality of climate change actually looks less and less likely to be manageable by 'ordinary means'? According to Wæver, securitising the climate may be the only option left: "It’s a painful route, but we are increasingly aware that no pleasant routes exist". Therefore, the main theme of the lecture was to foster reflections on how climate change politics might come to look if moving into a general space of emergency.

You can watch the full lecture online at University of Helsinki's Youtube channel.