Climate Change and Security in the News: June 2009
A round-up of articles on climate change and security in the global media for June 2009
UN recognises links between climate and security
On 3 June, small Pacific islands vulnerable to rising sea levels won a symbolic victory at the United Nations, with the passage of a resolution recognising climate change as a possible threat to security.
Passed by the General Assembly, the resolution is designed to help bring the issue of climate change to the fore in discussions amongst the UN Security Council. The link between climate and security has previously been resisted by powerful members like China and Russia, who questioned whether the issue belonged to the Security Council. Two weeks later, the UN warned of the impending ‘megadisasters’ that could occur because of a change in climate. Following these events, the UN launched the World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June. At the international event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the risks posed by a reduction in rainfall in the coming years. 200 million people are projected to become environmentally-induced migrants by 2050, and he stressed the need for immediate action.
Coverage: Reuters, UN.org, AFP
China to become the ‘world’s first green superpower’ as droughts and floods threaten its economic growth
Seeking to throw off its reputation as a major contributor to climate change, China is re-inventing itself as a leader in using renewable energy. The new ‘green superpower’ is bent on becoming a powerful force in low-carbon economies of the future, and this marks a real assertion of power in years to come. The shift to greener energy comes at a time when China’s economy is threatened by droughts and floods. Experts have noted that droughts, floods and storms have increased since the 1990s and the trend looks set to continue.
Climate change threatens the US
Sen John Kerry has said that global warming threatens US security by leaving important military hubs vulnerable to rising seas and possibly fomenting anti-American sentiment elsewhere. The senator's comments came as the U.S. Congress mulls a climate bill that aims to cut emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The legislation would cut emissions by less than that desired by many developing countries. Commentators have also expressed concerns over the result of climate change on North America’s domestic environment. The ‘unequivocal warming’ of the earth is already beginning to affect American lives, and looks set to continue over the next century.
Coverage: Reuters, New York Times
Violence rises with sea levels
Rapid increases in the rate of migration could aggravate tensions between populations uprooted from their homes, commentators warn this month. These effects look set to force economically developed and underdeveloped countries alike to re-assess their physical location in terms of immediate survival due to rising sea levels and the impending lack of access to resources. Growing scarcity in food and resources is forcing indigenous peoples to (in some cases violently) safeguard their rights to the resources of their land, and escalating tensions in Peru this month have highlighted this.
Coverage: Scientific American, Guardian, Reuters, The Financial Times
Climate implications for ‘failed states’: 25 years into the future of Pakistan
One of the world’s most volatile regions faces threats beyond existing political chaos, poverty and militant fundamentalism: the fate of the Himalayan glaciers in years to come could further cripple Pakistan and its surrounding area.
Coverage: Foreign Policy
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