Positive Environment News

Global Warming Impact Like "Nuclear War" - Report

Date: 13-Sep-07
Country: UK
Author: Jeremy Lovell

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
security think-tank said global warming would hit crop yields
and water availability everywhere, causing great human suffering
and leading to regional strife.

While everyone had now started to recognise the threat
posed by climate change, no one was taking effective leadership
to tackle it and no one could tell precisely when and where it
would hit hardest, it added.

"The most recent international moves towards combating
global warming represent a recognition ... that if the emission
of greenhouse gases ... is allowed to continue unchecked, the
effects will be catastrophic -- on the level of nuclear war,"
the IISS report said.

"Even if the international community succeeds in adopting
comprehensive and effective measures to mitigate climate change,
there will still be unavoidable impacts from global warming on
the environment, economies and human security," it added.

Scientists say global average temperatures will rise by
between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to burning
fossil fuels for power and transport.

The IISS report said the effects would cause a host of
problems including rising sea levels, forced migration, freak
storms, droughts, floods, extinctions, wildfires, disease
epidemics, crop failures and famines.

The impact was already being felt -- particularly in
conflicts in Kenya and Sudan -- and more was expected in places
from Asia to Latin America as dwindling resources led to
competition between haves and have nots.

"We can all see that climate change is a threat to global
security, and you can judge some of the more obvious causes and
areas," said IISS transnational threat specialist Nigel Inkster.
"What is much harder to do is see how to cope with them."

The report, an annual survey of the impact of world events
on global security, said conflicts and state collapses due to
climate change would reduce the world's ability to tackle the
causes and to reduce the effects of global warming.

State failures would increase the gap between rich and poor
and heighten racial and ethnic tensions which in turn would
produce fertile breeding grounds for more conflict.

Urban areas would not be exempt from the fallout as falling
crop yields due to reduced water and rising temperatures would
push food prices higher, IISS said.

Overall, it said 65 countries were likely to lose over 15
percent of their agricultural output by 2100 at a time when the
world's population was expected to head from six billion now to
nine billion people.

"Fundamental environmental issues of food, water and energy
security ultimately lie behind many present security concerns,
and climate change will magnify all three," it added.

© Thomson Reuters 2007 All rights reserved

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