What is International Relations?
International relations experts are responsible for the relationships between different countries, dealing with conflict, economic issues, and political behaviour, among many other factors in global governance. IR is associated with an understanding of the ways in which different countries operate, and in turn, how they communicate and collaborate with each other.
In an increasingly globalised environment, IR experts are more integral to the international political system than they ever have been and as conflicts arise throughout the world, these individuals need to maintain good relations and agreements between different political entities, implementing policies that could have an impact on the greater international public.
However, global conflict and economic crisis are no longer the only concerns of IR experts. With global warming reaching record-breaking heights, the international community desperately needs trained negotiation experts on an international level, who are dedicated to making changes to the way we live, with the hopes of improving our current environmental situation for the benefit of future generations.
Our Current Global Climate Change Status
According to the World Meteorological Organization’s “Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018”, the past four years have been the warmest in recorded history, with an average global temperature increase of 1ºC since the pre-industrial era. This may seem marginal, but as WMO says, “every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference”.
And we are paying the price. Ocean temperatures are higher than ever before, with Arctic and Antarctic ice melting at a rate that is well above average, causing our sea levels to rise drastically. This might not have a direct effect on us just yet, but global warming is also responsible for extreme weather conditions and natural disasters, which in 2018 impacted sustainable development, even lives, on every single continent.
In light of all this, WMO concludes that “we are not on track to meet climate change targets and rein in temperature increases”. So, what needs to be done?
An International Relations Career with a Focus on Climate Change?
These statistics show just how urgent the situation really is, pointing out the need for international relations experts to facilitate global climate change agreements that attempt to prevent further ecological collapse.
Lyn Jaggard, an environmental politics author, highlights that global climate change is an international issue because its causes are transnational in nature. This means that it is totally impossible for nations to singularly combat the causes and consequences of global warming; efforts to address climate change need to be a united, global project. A project that requires sensitive and urgent facilitation by highly-trained international relations professionals.
“Whilst it is essential that individual countries implement a variety of policies in order to manage the effects of climate change and to try to minimise future adverse effects,” Jaggard writes, “the transboundary nature of this phenomenon necessitates international political cooperation so that this threat to global environmental security can be managed.”
There are several lobbying groups and organisations out there that aim to raise awareness around climate change, but on the international policy-making level, there have been a number of environmental conferences and conventions surfacing over the years, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which facilitates international policy-making cooperation, and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which has a specific focus on sustainable development.
International relations experts often find themselves occupying a seat at the table of these conferences, and are an integral part of the process, particularly because of their skills in negotiating cooperative international policies.
Does this sound exciting, enthralling? Are you considering studying an international relations degree? Take a look at what MIUC’s international relations programmes have to offer.
International Relations Degrees at MIUC
Enter the world of international relations and international politics with a substantial depth of knowledge and confidence in your critical thinking abilities. MIUC’s BA and MA programmes in international relations offer our students the opportunity to critically understand and engage with pressing issues in modern-day international relations. Students are encouraged to analyse and explore how ideas and the roles of institutions are being reconceptualised in our changing political climates, on an international and local level.
Would you like to know more about MIUC’s international relations programmes? Enquire here and one of our advisors will get in touch with you shortly