Climate change a threat to the security in Europe

Thursday and Friday this week the top boys and girls of the European Union meet in Brussels. EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and Europe's commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, have prepared a report on climate change and security risks in advance of the meeting. Today the conclusion of the report is being quoted in literally every media across the world. Here are a few samples.

BBC / EU warns of climate change threat.

An EU report says climate change will have a growing impact on global security, multiplying existing threats such as shortages of food and water.

Financial Times / Climate 'threatens' European security.

Climate change poses serious security risks for the European Union, ranging from sharper competition for global energy resources to the arrival of numerous “environmental migrants†[...] In the Middle East for example, “existing tensions over access to water are almost certain to intensify ... leading to further political instability with detrimental implications for Europe’s energy security and other interests†[...] “A further dimension of competition for energy resources lies in potential conflict over resources in Polar regions which will become exploitable as a consequence of global warming.†[...] “Already today climate change is having a major impact on the conflict in and around Darfur.â€

With Canadian perspective: Political Crisis Looms In Arctic, Report Says.

"The United States should not underestimate Canadian passions on this issue [...] Unless Washington leads the way toward a multilateral diplomatic solution, the Arctic could descend into armed conflict." - former U.S. Coast Guard commander Scott Borgerson.

EUobserver.com / EU must boost military capabilities in face of climate change.

The EU and member states should further build up their capabilities with regards to civil protection, and civil and military crisis management and disaster response instruments to react to the security risks posed by climate change [...] "Significant decreases [in crop yields] are expected to hit Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia and thus affect stability in a vitally strategic region for Europe," predicts the report, while "water supply in Israel might fall by 60 percent over this century." [...] "Some of these recommendations may well be sensible, but there's no way of knowing until they're fleshed out. The devil is in the detail. It's important to know what powers the EU will assume in the event," said Tony Bunyan, head of civil liberties group Statewatch.

Benno Hansen is the author of Ecowar - a blog about links between conflict and natural resources.

Image credit: Infomatique. Image licensed under a Creative-Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.


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Benno Hansen
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