Conflicts to increase with temperatures, scientists and UN warn
Dec 10, 2007, 11:41 GMT
Bali Island, Indonesia - Climate change was likely to increase social and political conflicts around the world, scientists and the United Nations warned Monday.
Progressing global warming might even lead to a 'global civil war,' leading German climate expert Hans Joachim Schellnhuber said in Nusa Dua on Bali, where a UN climate change conference was under way.
Achim Steiner, director of the UN Environmental Programme, predicted the fight against global warming would be a significant security issue in the 21st century, adding that the high risks of climate change also represented a chance for the international community to cooperate toward a global solution.
Climate change would lead to conflicts over resources such as water and food as harvests fall, said Schellnhuber, who is an adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The problem of climate change refugees would also dramatically worsen, he said, predicting that about 500 million people would be forced from their homes because of global warming.
'Climate policy ... is peace policy,' Schellnhuber said.
'In future, we will have a new quality of conflict' that would no longer deal with national armies but with collapsing countries and their effects on other nations and regions, he added.
He counted parts of Africa, Central Asia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, parts of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Andes as among the regions under threat.
Schellnhuber and Steiner spoke as the second week of the Bali talks got underway. They are aimed at laying the groundwork for a new treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions and replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
Ahead of the Bali talks, which continue through Friday, a UN panel of scientists released reports that recommended global warming be kept below 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, severe weather, floods, drought and desertification. To do so, it said, global emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause global warming would have to peak by 2015 and then be halved by 2050.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur