Climate change is not just a green issue; it is also a security concern, according to a briefing paper published by the Church of England.
“Drought and other climate-related shocks risk sparking violence and conflict,” the paper warns.
Climate security is now a core foreign policy priority intimately connected with foreign and trade policy, security and geopolitics, as it threatens to push many communities still further into poverty and frustrates international efforts to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, says the paper from the Church’s Mission and Public Affairs division.
“As the implications of climate security become more noticeable, and as the negotiations gear up to find a way forward in a post-2012 world (when the Kyoto protocol is due to be replaced), climate change related issues, which were once marginal and peripheral concerns to international decision makers, will become an ever larger part of international relations,” the briefing contends.
“Climate change poses a serious, ongoing threat to human development and human security,” the briefing notes. “The outlook for many of the least developed countries, especially those in Africa, under a ‘business as usual’ model is bleak, even though these same countries have some of the lowest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The likely impact of climate change thus presents a global ethical challenge as well as a development and scientific challenge. This is a connection which governments and international organisations are already sensitive to, even if, as this briefing paper has suggested, their subsequent actions have fallen short of what is generally thought necessary to correct the situation.”
In recent years, the Church has sought to respond to the scandal of poverty by pressing for further international action on debt, trade and aid. This social justice agenda has seen the Church playing an active role in the Jubilee 2000 Campaign, the Trade Justice Movement and MakePovertyHistory. Climate change threatens to undermine many of the development achievements of the last decade.
The briefing paper is available at: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/socialpublic/international/climatechange/