Climate change has altered the way states regard national security, as
they are faced with a major threat that has no defined parametres and
cannot be tackled by military means.
Climate change threatens not only the security of the state, but the security of entire sections of their populations, and the threats to Africa's security are "the most dramatic and urgent".
These were the findings of Denise Garcia of the political science department at Northeastern University in the US and a research associate at the international security programme at Harvard University.
In the latest Institute for Security Studies journal, Garcia writes that security was traditionally defined in terms of threats to national territory from a clearly defined enemy.
"Such threats could be tackled by strong armed forces and military capacity.
"Even in the face of the very real dangers posed by climate change, most states are still preparing for traditional wars … that are quite unlikely to occur.
"However, higher sea levels are more likely to be the cause of loss of territories, a fact that states have only quite recently started to realise," Garcia said.
One of the risks to national and human security is that climate change would disrupt the capacity of states to generate wealth, and so would decrease their GDPs, she said.
"Territories in this century will be lost not by wars, but by the forces of nature.
"It will probably take many years for an adaptation of postures, from a military quest for security to one that seeks to address environmental insecurity."
Government spending on military hardware had little relevance to defence and security and could actually jeopardise security because it diverted money from being spent in other areas.
"The real challenge that states today have to address is one of populations at peril, not from military menace, but from climate change, and these are threats to the very survival of the state and its people," Garcia said.
Climate change would aggravate uncertain living conditions, particularly in Africa.
The breakdown on a huge scale to pursue wealth may lead to "instability and ultimately failed states, and these will become the breeding grounds for conflicts over resources".
Garcia quotes the 2007 Stern Review which states that in developing countries, climate change contributes to increased illness and death rates. The effects will spill over borders, leading to conflict.
Last year, a UN Development Programme human development report said if no action were taken, climate change would result in 600-million people being at risk of malnutrition because of collapsed agriculture.
The report also revealed that 1,8-billion people would be at risk from water scarcity by 2080, 333-million people would be displaced on coasts from storms and flooding and hundreds of millions of people at increased risk from malaria.
A UNDP study had shown that there were strong links between climate change and the conflict in Darfur.
Lower rainfall and land degradation meant the land could no longer support both farmers and migrating herdsmen.
Vovler a la lista <<<<<