Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Steinmeier: climate change growing threat to peace

Reuters: Climate change is a growing threat to world peace and has led to rival territorial claims in the Arctic that could turn into a Cold War, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday.

Political solutions are needed now to problems posed by climate change that threaten peace in areas ranging from Africa to the Middle East and even the Arctic, Steinmeier told a conference on climate change. "There's a 'Cold War' at the North Pole that we have to prevent," he said. "Climate change is a threat to worldwide peace and security. Policies to fight climate change can, and will, become an important part of peace policies. We have to be aware of it and look for solutions..." he added.

"Climate change is not a far-away problem," Steinmeier said. "It's dramatic and our window to act is even smaller than we thought just a few years ago. We need more courage and more creativity, not just in technology but also politically."

He noted with concern that a Russian submarine had planted a Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole in August, staking a claim to the potentially energy-rich area. Denmark also claims part of the Arctic through its Greenland province. "Not only Russia but other neighboring nations have also staked claims for fossil fuels in this region," Steinmeier said. "The eternal ice is melting before our eyes. Climate change has made exploitation possible where it was thought not possible."…."We have to make sure that Arctic treaties are respected and upheld, according to international law," said Steinmeier, who visited the Arctic region in August.

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