This paper projects four “climate security scenarios” for the region to tease out key issues and inform future decision-making. Focusing on these provides an entry to making further diplomatic, defense, development and investment choices. Climate change is a present and growing threat to countries bordering the South and East China Seas. It tests governments already weakened by the strains of the global pandemic in fundamental areas such as governance, food provision, and social and economic development. How these governments respond to the intersectional and security implications of climate change could well determine the course of regional development for decades to come.
Investments to upgrade and increase the resilience of critical food, energy, waste, transport and other essential infrastructure are urgently needed. The “soft infrastructure” of inclusive political discourse and responsive policy-making requires upgrades as well, especially in states with a disconnect between a powerful elite and the broader population.