There is a potential for climate refugee numbers to swell dangerously in the next few years. Among the experts concluding five days of impact talks, representatives from the United Nations University warned of mass migrations. Crop failure, famine and drinking water shortages are by no means the worst worry linked with scenarios of a two-to-more-than-six degree Celsius rise in average planetary temperatures.
Britain has circulated a so-called concept paper arguing that climate change could provoke new wars; The UK ambassador to the UN said clearly that the traditional triggers of conflict are likely to be “exacerbated”. The concept paper outlines areas where climate change could affect global security, including disruption of energy supplies, border disputes, humanitarian crises and alterations of the world’s physical landmass.
An estimated 250 million people are displaced today because of the phenomena; This could rise by another 50 million by the end of this decade. Increased flooding and torrential rain storms such as those that destroyed New Orleans would have further devastating effects; Forest fires would compound regional instability; Coastal tide surges also carry a fear factor.
The U.N. Security Council will debate climate change for the first time on April 17, the result of a British campaign to force it onto the agenda of a body that deals with matters of war and peace. Britain is urging other countries to take an equally serious approach.