Effects of climate change could be “catastrophic” in the next two decades and would pose “significant risks” to global security, a report released ahead of the 2020 Munich Security Conference has said.
The report, launched on the eve of the annual gathering, also urges military leaders to begin “climate-proofing” its security infrastructure.
It highlights water-shortages as one key area of concern and finds that rising authoritarianism, sharpened global competition and national agendas are hampering the needed cooperation among nations to address the security risks of climate change.Commenting on the release of the report, the Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security General Tom Middendorp, said: “Climate change poses significant risks to global security, which could become catastrophic in the next two decades.
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
“The security community therefore has a responsibility to prepare for and prevent these threats, including through climate-proofing international security at all levels.”Meanwhile, Louise van Schaik, a member of the report committee, said: “It is striking that climate change does not only have implications for military missions abroad and threat analysis, but also directly undermines military capabilities at home because of the need to act more often as first responders in the case of wildfires, floods and ice storms.
“Militaries therefore must also climate-proof themselves.”
More than 150 world leaders and officials will gather in Munich for the three day conference starting Friday, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Iran, Qatar and the UAE.
More from World
Other attendees include the NATO Secretary General, Heads of the World Bank and World Food Programme and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The UK won’t be represented by any Secretaries of State this year after Downing Street cancelled plans for the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to attend. Foreign Office Minister Andrew Murrison will represent the government.
Climate change is being increasingly spoken about in security terms, particularly in relation to the Sahel region of Africa, where severe fighting is threatening the lives of millions in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
Last year the United Nations identified climate change as the driving force behind conflict in the region.
The international body estimates 80% of the Sahel’s farmland has been degraded by climate change, causing scarcity of food for people and livestock.
Temperatures are rising 1.5 times above the global average, leading to more frequent and longer droughts, and flooding.
Because borders tend to be porous, violence spreads easily from country to country and extremist groups like Al Qaeda and Islamic State have taken root in ungoverned territory.
In the Arctic, warming temperatures and melting ice means previously frozen sea routes are opening. This has created a race for ownership and dominance of the high north, with Russia spending billions re-opening arctic military bases and upgrading aircraft and ships.
NATO has made the arctic region an area of focus as Norway, the US, Canada and Denmark push back against increasingly threatening Russian activity.
Source : Sky News