Not to let himself be outdone by his U.S. colleagues, Jock Stirrup, the head of Britain's armed forces, is the latest military man to sound the alarms on the potential threat posed by global warming to national security. In a recent address, he warned that unstable regimes might collapse as a result of the effects of climate change on food and water supplies, prompting armed conflicts and humanitarian disasters on a scale similar to what is now occurring in Sudan.
He argued that the military should take global warming considerations very seriously in planning future strategies and troop deployments. Focusing on those countries that are already security risks should be their first priority as they are likely to be at risk for climate change as well. "Just glance at a map of the areas most likely to be affected and you are struck at once by the fact that they are exactly those parts of the world where we see fragility, instability and weak governance today," he explained.While he didn't directly identify the problem areas he considered most vulnerable to climate change in his speech, Bert Metz, an official with the U.N.'s IPCC, said that he believed those to be Central America, parts of Asia, large sections of Africa and the Amazon Basin.
Though scientists have projected average temperatures to rise by 1.8 to 4.0 degrees Celsius by the end of the century as a result of the combined effect of fossil fuel emissions and melting ice caps, Stirrup believes that the security threat is much more immediate, stating that "If temperatures rise towards the upper end of the forecast range we could already start to see serious physical consequences by 2040 -- and that is if things get no worse. If things do get worse you don't need to come very much forward from 2040 before, in my terms at least, you are talking about the day after tomorrow."
Whereas the mainstream media tends to focus primarily on the local, physical effects of climate change (clean technology companies, carbon dioxide emissions, recycling, etc), it is clear that global warming presents a much more multifaceted problem. It's not a stretch to say that it could severely destabilize the governments of many underdeveloped countries (if not bring them down entirely) and produce countless more Sudans. Viewing it from this broad perspective certainly helps to bring home the seriousness of the threats posed by global warming. As Stirrup later said in his talk, "Recognizing the problem is the first step."
Via ::Armies must ready for global warming role: Britain (news website)