Resource Politics and Environmental Change

Climate disruption, environmental change and resource scarcity have become the subject of growing policy attention, academic debate and popular political mobilization in recent years. These issues are linked in political and media discourses to phenomena ranging from famine, migration, urbanization and vulnerability to natural hazards, warfare, terrorism and other sub-national, national and international security threats.

Environmental and climate change – including framings of and responses to them – carry huge consequences for politics, the economy and for social and biological life globally. But at the same time, unequal power relations, diverse knowledge uncertainties, incumbent technologies and institutions, and issues around spatial scale and time horizons influence pathways to achieving just and transformative change. Understanding and untangling the complex, contested, cross-sectoral and multi-scalar politics of natural resources and environmental change and seeking out just, sustainable pathways of transformation are therefore more important than ever.

Our starting point is that the complex challenges around resource politics and environmental change require diverse, innovative and critically attuned methods and strategies for research, policy engagement and communication. The questions that we ask and knowledge that we produce, must reflect how dynamics of political and material exclusions – including those related to inequitable access to natural resources and technology, rights and citizenship, gender and labour – shape the contemporary terrain of environmental struggle and natural resource politics at and across different scales. How do forces of globalization and regimes of extraction, industrial production and consumption of resources affect states, landscapes, societies and conflicts in different places and different types of resource environments? What does environmental and social justice mean in diverse development contexts, across the global north and south?

Specifically, our research and engagement focuses on three overlapping themes: (1) Political economy and environmental change; (2) Climate and environmental justice; and (3) Scarcity, security and resilience.

Key contacts

Amber Huff

Resource Politics and Environmental Change Cluster Lead

01273 915805

Lars Otto Naess

Resource Politics and Environmental Change Cluster Lead

+44 (0)1273 915849



Recent work


Pastoralists as Conservationists

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts that bring together PASTRES work from 2018-2023 around a number of themes. In this post, we explore the role of pastoralists in rangeland conservation. Pastoralists are often blamed for environmental destruction – not only the climate but...

18 December 2023

Working Paper

Targeting in Protracted Crises: Niger Case Study

BASIC Research Working Paper 21

Targeting social assistance in situations of protracted conflict, displacement or recurrent climate shocks so that it reaches those most in need in a timely and effective manner, and without doing further harm, is a complex technical and political challenge for development and humanitarian...

Fred Merttens & 2 others

13 December 2023



Climate Justice Scoping Study

This study, commissioned by the International Development Research Centre, identified gaps and future entry points for Southern-led research on climate justice. The study was framed around the concept of transformative climate justice, reflecting the need to bridge gaps between climate justice...