Climate Change and International Order Essay Prize 2022

Hillary Briffa Announcement
Subject Fields
Environmental History / Studies, Geography, Humanities, Political Science, World History / Studies


 Centre for Grand Strategy, King’s College London &

the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

2022  Essay Prize

The Centre for Grand Strategy, King's College London, in partnership with the RUSI, is pleased to announce that its second essay prize awarded for original writing on contemporary issues of ‘Climate Change and International Order’, is now open for submissions on 1st March 2022.

Assumptions and certainties that once underlay the post-1945 international order are crumbling. Yet, discussions about the consequences for present and future ‘world order’ usually fixate upon the realm of great power politics and the political, economic and security consequences of the decline of the west, the resurgence of Russia and the rise of China. The ‘world order’ debate has yet to confront in any meaningful way the climate crisis, which is already creating increasingly destructive weather patterns, drastically changing geographies and ecosystems, and threatening the secure and sustainable supply of key resources. Throughout history, international and regional orders have been resilient and adaptable systems created by converging economic, technological, and ideological forces. But in recorded history, humanity has never faced anything like the effects we anticipate from 2-4 degrees of possible warming.

The purpose of this prize is to promote the publication of research from across a range of disciplines on the theme of ‘Climate Change and International Order’. We are looking for outstanding essays that explore questions of international, regional, or global order in the context of climate change, ecological collapse, and the impacts of mitigation and adaptation strategies that may define the coming decades.

  • One main prize will be awarded, at a value of £1000. At the discretion of the judging panel, up to two runner-up prizes may be awarded.
  • Awards are made on the basis of originality, logical argument, sound analysis, style, clarity and conciseness.
  • The competition is open to authors of any nationality.
  • Essays may be single-authored or multi-authored. Interdisciplinary submissions are encouraged.
  • Submissions should be previously unpublished, and between 5,000 and 7,000 words, including footnotes.
  • Please include a short abstract and a bibliography (these are not included in the word count).
  • The deadline for submission of essays is 1st March 2022.  

You should feel free to frame your essay topic according to your own interests and areas of expertise.

If you would like some inspiration in framing a topic, here are some possible starting points:

  • How and why do stable orders begin to weaken and fragment? Which components of ordering systems become most vulnerable first, and can analysing these patterns help us prepare for the world beyond the 1.5 degree threshold?
  • What might each of the future scenarios suggested in the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways — including, at the extreme end, environmental and humanitarian catastrophes, wars, economic crises, and political revolutions—mean for the future of statecraft, grand strategy and ideas of global order?
  • In what ways can looking to the past help tackle the transnational challenges of the 21st century? How do the types of insecurity we face now compare to those that worried order-builders in the middle of the 20th century?
  • How do competing conceptions of international order affect the prospects for successful climate change mitigation strategies?
  • How do changing energy infrastructures affect international order? What will be the strategic implications of a post-fossil-fuel world?
  • How are different states’ militaries engaging differently with, and planning differently for, the strategic challenges of climate change?
  • How do changes in global order, including those driven by climate change, affect and amplify human security challenges and their intersections?
  • How do new and emerging technologies transform geopolitics and disrupt patterns of sovereignty, power, and governance? Could the nation-state ever be supplanted?


How to Apply:

Submissions should be emailed with the subject title ‘CGS&RUSI Essay Prize’ to, including in the message: full name, age, country of residence, professional affiliation (if applicable), and degree programme currently enrolled on (if applicable).

Please note submissions should be made in .doc or .pdf format.

Please feel welcome to contact with any questions.


Contact Information

Dr Hillary Briffa

Climate Change and International Order Lead for the Centre for Grand Strategy

Contact Email