Veterans call for climate battle

Serving and retired military officers from around the globe called on governments to 'work for an ambitious and equitable international agreement' at the Copenhagen climate negotiations in December.

Speakers at the conference on Climate Change and Security at Copenhagen in Washington last week said it was of ‘critical importance’ for addressing climate change now in order to avoid ‘exacerbating current security threats and creating new ones’.

“To avoid conflicts from climate change-related impacts, we need to employ every tool and strategy available, and the military is a critical ally in this fight,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and speaker at the conference.

A key focus of the climate-security effort is the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau, which was discussed at length in Brussels earlier this month at the officers’ first meeting.

This 500,000 km2 of snow and ice supplies the dry season irrigation for more than a billion people.

It is predicted to shrink to 100,000 km2 in 20 years, threatening climate chaos and conflict among dependent countries, including three with nuclear weapons.

Delegates also heard fears about food and water shortages due to climate change, which threaten to increase conflicts between nations.

Inhospitable living conditions from sea level rises and other impacts will contribute to a growing problem of environmental refugees, according to Mr Zaelke.

Luke Walsh

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