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British Forces

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 5 months ago

Armed Forces Face Strain of Climate Change - Report

 

 

UK: January 24, 2008

 

 

LONDON - Security forces round the world will face tough new challenges as climate change unleashes violent storms, raises sea levels and causes floods and famines, a new report said on Thursday.

 

 

Up to 200 million people could become environmental refugees by the middle of the century, bringing to one billion the number of people displaced by conflicts, natural disasters and large development projects, the Oxford Research Group report said.

"It is crucial that governments begin to take steps now towards developing effective policy solutions for the police, security services and military to help them adapt to the new and changing demands," said author Chris Abbott.

 

"However, they must resist the temptation to use force to try and control insecurity and maintain the status quo. In this instance, prevention really is the only cure," he added.

 

The Oxford Research Group is an independent think-tank that regularly issues reports on global security issues. Abbott's report is titled "An uncertain future -- law enforcement, national security and climate change."

 

While climate-related events will put new strains on the security services, governments' responses to global warming could give rise to militant environmental groups using terror tactics to make their points, the report said.

 

"In the US, the FBI ... currently consider 'eco-terrorism' to be one of the most serious domestic terrorism threats," the report said, noting an upsurge in violent rhetoric among a small group of environmental extremists.

 

It said the melting of ice caused by rising temperatures could raise sea levels by at least one metre this century and that more than 17 million Bangladeshis lived in that danger zone.

 

Key military bases such as the major US base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean could also be swamped by rising sea levels.

 

The report said food, water and energy -- essential for human survival -- were already in short supply in many parts of the world and shortages would worsen as populations grew and weather patterns changed.

 

Scientists say global average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century as a result of the burning of fossil fuels for transport and power generation.

 

The developing world insists that the rich developed nations which have caused most of the pollution do most to reduce the harmful emissions.

 

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has on several occasions referred to climate change as an act of aggression by the rich against the poor, the report notes.

 

But climate change also has the potential to change the world in both geographical and political terms as coastlines retreat, island nations are swamped and national borders are put under pressure, it said.

 

New disputes may also arise as melting ice opens up viable shipping routes through the Arctic such as the Northwest Passage, where there is already tension between Canada and the United States, the report said. (Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; editing by Tim Pearce)

 

 

 

Story by Jeremy Lovell

 

 

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

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