Global warming ‘ultimate threat multiplier’ posing serious risk to world security, says report urging governments not to see it simply as a climate issue
Tackling climate change risks must become a top foreign policy priority if the world is to combat the global security threat it poses in the 21st century, according to a new study commissioned by the G7 countries.
Multiple conflicts have taken the government systems for dealing with them “to their limits”, according to one of the authors of the report, which was launched at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Tuesday.
Written by an international consortium including peacebuilding NGO International Alert and the European Union Institute for Security Studies, it calls climate change “the ultimate threat multiplier” in fragile situations.
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Citing conflicts in Syria and Mali and land grabs in Ethiopia, it warns that problems exacerbated by climate change – such as food insecurity, competition for water and land, migration and displacement – could leave fragile states unable to provide for their citizens.
Speaking at the launch, Baroness Anelay, the UK’s minister of state for the FCO, agreed that climate change should become a top foreign policy priority.
“Climate change is not only a threat to the environment but to global security and economic prosperity. That therefore makes it a top priority not only for environment ministers but foreign ministers too. It’s a cross government issue – and if it’s not, it should be,” she said.