Saturday, June 1, 2013

Climate adaptation policy crucial to easing conflict

Charlotte Baskin-Gerwitz at (Thomson Reuters Foundation): The international community widely acknowledges that climate change is a pressing issue. U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 National Security Strategy recognized that climate change is a national security threat, impacting both the homeland and American interests abroad.

The strategy warns: “The danger from climate change is real, urgent and severe.  The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe.”

The broader national security policy community has also come to recognise climate change as a “threat multiplier,” increasing the risk of conflict when combined with other factors; however, not enough attention is yet being paid to its importance in conflict prevention and resolution.

Most conflicts in modern times are intrastate, often fuelled or financed by natural resources. The University of Uppsala’s “Armed Conflict, 1946-2011” database shows that 26 of the 27 armed conflicts globally in 2011 were intrastate while the UN Environment Programme’s “From Conflict to Peacebuilding” report approximates that 40 percent of civil wars have been associated with natural resources. ...

A Varanasi woman in India carrying water, shot by Jorge Royan, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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