Global warming may fuel terrorism - report

2015-07-13 22:02


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Global warming-induced food and water shortages may cause mass migration, competition for resources and state failure, providing fertile ground for conflict and terrorism, analysts warned on Monday.

In a report titled: Climate Change, A Risk Assessment, a global team of scientists, policy analysts and financial and military risk experts painted a grim picture of mankind's future on a much warmer planet.

As rising temperatures and sea levels shrink areas of productive land, humans will have reasons aplenty for warring with one another, they wrote - especially in already turbulent parts of the Middle East and Africa.

Even with average global warming of 0.8°C from the Industrial Revolution to date, the world was facing "significant problems".

"It seems likely that high degrees of climate change would pose enormous risks to national and international security," said the report.

"Extreme water stress, and competition for productive land, could both become sources of conflict."

Soon, today's refugee problems may seen trifling compared to the numbers of fugitives fleeing climate change-related food and water scarcity and conflict.

"Migration from some regions may become more a necessity than a choice, and could take place on a historically unprecedented scale," wrote the team.

"The capacity of the international community for humanitarian assistance, already at full stretch, could easily be overwhelmed."

This could in turn push governments over the brink - even states considered developed and stable today.

"Countries in the Middle East and North Africa region may be at particular risk," said the report - many already facing extreme water shortages along with rapid population growth and predictions for an even drier climate.

Population numbers are also exploding in Sub-Saharan Africa, which already has the highest tally of hungry people in the world, while land temperatures are rising faster than the global average, and arable land is shrinking.

"Climate change is likely to increase environmental stresses on many countries at the same time," said the report, and even sophisticated governments may be unable to deal with the combination of pressures.

"The expansion of ungoverned territories would in turn increase the risks of terrorism."

The power vacuum left by failing or collapsed states are ideal conditions for terrorist groups to take root, and yield larger numbers of marginalised and disenfranchised people from which to recruit.

Small changes, big impacts 

The report included contributions from over 40 experts from 11 countries, and is meant to guide policymakers.

Its lead authors included David King, the UK foreign secretary's climate change representative; Daniel Schrag, a member of US President Barack Obama's council of advisers on science; and Zhou Dadi, a member of the China national expert committee on climate change.

UN members are negotiating a global pact, to be sealed at a conference in Paris in December, seeking to limit overall global warming to 2°C from pre-industrial levels.

This would be done mainly through cutting emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.

Depending on the rate and timing of such cuts, temperatures could already be 5°C higher by 2100, said the report, and the sea level between 40cm and a metre higher.

This would mean more extreme storms, longer and more frequent droughts, heat waves, flooding, disease spread and crop and species loss.

"What may appear to be small changes in climate could have very large effects, especially if important thresholds are passed," it warned.

Read more on:    security  |  research  |  climate change

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.