ecostory 28-2007
"Energy, Security and Climate" Security Council open debate: UK concept paper
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Below is the FT's comment on the > Security council UK Concept Paper.

By Mark Turner and Fiona Harvey (Copyright)

Britain is to host a ministerial-level meeting at the United Nations Security Council in what could lead to a breakthrough recognition by the world body of climate change’s implications for peace and security.

The UK, which holds this month’s rotating presidency of the council, has overcome initial reluctance from the US and other powerful members, and hopes that the meeting, planned for April 17, could have a similar impact to a UN meeting on Aids in 2000.

Margaret Beckett, the British foreign secretary, will argue that climate change has significant implications for international security. But she is likely to face scepticism from countries that think the security council is overextending its remit.

In a discussion paper entitled “Energy, Security and Climate”, Britain argues that the increasing use of fossil fuels “will accelerate climate change, which presents risks to the very security we are trying to build [through economic development]”.

Among other risks, it says that “melting ice and rising sea levels caused by climate change are likely to result in major changes to the world’s physical land mass during this century”, leading to potential changes in political and maritime borders.

It also says that “substantial parts of the world risk being left uninhabitable by rising sea levels”, which will “exacerbate existing migratory pressures across international borders. Some estimates suggest up to 200m people may be displaced by the middle of the century”.

The paper argues that “climate change is likely to make essential resources more scarce in many parts of the world, particularly in already vulnerable societies”, which could “create instability, increasing vulnerability to conflict”.

Britain hopes that the meeting will raise awareness that climate change is as much a political and economic issue as a scientific one.

The UK will be able to cite strong scientific support for its arguments.

On Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meeting in Brussels, will produce the second section of the biggest study yet of the effects of global warming.

The IPCC, convened by the UN, will draw on the work of more than 2,500 scientists. The report is expected to show evidence that climate change will result in serious human health problems, owing to the spread of disease and lower agricultural yields, and economic dangers, arising from damage to infrastructure such as transport networks and buildings, within the next few decades.

Climate change will also result in serious damage to the natural world, such as the destruction of coral reefs and the extinction of species, the scientists are expected to conclude.

Copyright Financial Times: This article has been reproduced for reference purposes only, without commercial purpose

Security council UK Concept Paper

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