Climate change threatens global security, warn medical and military leaders

Apr 06, 2011

Medical and military leaders have come together today to warn that climate change not only spells a global health catastrophe, but also threatens global stability and security.

" poses an immediate and grave threat, driving ill-health and increasing the risk of conflict, such that each feeds upon the other," they write in an editorial published in the today. Their views come ahead of an open meeting on these issues to be held at the British Medical Association on 20 June 2011.

The authors point to several reports, highlighting the threat that climate change poses to "collective security and global order."

For example, the Pentagon's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress stressed the potential for climate change to contribute to "poverty, , and the further weakening of fragile governments."

The UK's Ministry of Defence also states that "climate change will amplify existing social, political and resource stresses" and will shift "the tipping point at which conflict ignites," while the UK's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, recently described climate change as "perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign policy challenge."

A recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies concurs: "Climate change will increase the risks of resource shortages, mass migration, and . These could lead to failed states, which threaten global stability and security." It stresses the need for "sustained investment in infrastructure and new technologies" of which "a shift to will be the most visible effect of efforts to mitigate emissions."

"It might be considered unusual for the medical and military professions to concur," say the authors. "But on this subject we do."

They conclude: "Although discussion is good, we can no longer delay implementing tough action that will make a difference, while quibbling over minor uncertainties in climate modelling. Unlike most recent natural disasters, this one is entirely predictable. Doctors, often seen as authoritative, trusted, and independent by their communities, must make their voices heard in calling for such action."

Such subjects will be discussed at a forthcoming open meeting "Climate change - how to secure our future wellbeing: a health and security perspective" to be held at BMA House on 20 June 2011.

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

Climate change poses a huge threat to human health

Jan 25, 2008

Climate change will have a huge impact on human health and bold environmental policy decisions are needed now to protect the world’s population, according to the author of an article published in the BMJ today.

EPA releases report on climate change and health

Jul 17, 2008

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a report that discusses the potential impacts of climate change on human health, human welfare, and communities in the U.S. The report, entitled "Analyses of the Effects ...

Recommended for you

Research to aid Californian drought response

13 minutes ago

The worsening drought in California has prompted US agencies to turn to Australian researchers to identify the most effective strategies Australian utilities and agencies used to survive the Millennium Drought.

Stronger action needed to transform the UK's energy system

5 hours ago

An ambitious policy package is essential for the UK to transform its energy system to achieve the deep reductions in carbon emissions required to avoid dangerous climate change, according to research led by UCL scientists. ...

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.