Forecasting Environmental Crime Futures in a Warming World

From the Pacific Islands to West Africa, this project investigates the evolving impact of global warming on the criminogenic dynamics behind large-scale environmental crime.

Main Image Credit Ulannaq Ingemann / Alamy Stock Photo

Most global research and practical action to date has focused on the current dynamics of criminal activity endangering species worldwide. Yet these dynamics stand to be significantly affected by climate change. As living resources adapt and relocate in a warming world, illegal actors will respond, profiting from new wildlife, fish and plant distributions. There is thus a critical need to look at climate change and environmental crime together.

This multidisciplinary programme assesses the impact of a warming climate on current patterns of transnational environmental crime – from wildlife trafficking to illegal fishing and logging. It also explores the intersections with other pressing worldwide security challenges. Our cross-disciplinary research agenda stands to make a critical contribution to the future of counter-environmental crime programming.

Main Image Credit Ulannaq Ingemann / Alamy Stock Photo

Aims and objectives

This cutting-edge, futures-oriented research program will comprise a series of separate research initiatives, focused on illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking and illegal logging.

The first project in this series will focus on large-scale illegal fishing and the impact of oceanic warming on the criminogenic dynamics underpinning this destructive crime. This project represents the first in-depth study to anticipate the implications of rising oceanic temperatures for the future of large-scale illegal fishing and associated security threats. The goal is to adopt an innovative, futures-oriented lens to assess the interlinkages between illegal fishing, organised crime and climate change, and how these will evolve.

The project explores the following questions:

  • To what extent will climate change determine the future direction of the illegal fishing threat worldwide, and the crimes with which it converges?
  • How will changes to human–wildlife interaction and land-based security shifts brought about by climate change impact livelihood-related drivers of illegal fishing?
  • How will climate change impact the effectiveness of existing legislative frameworks, international agreements and enforcement models designed to monitor and disrupt large-scale illegal fishing?

Project sponsor

  • The PEW Charitable Trusts

    This project is supported by the PEW Charitable Trusts.

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