Climate change threatens global peace and security says UN chief

» By | Published 25 Jul 2011

Increasing concerns over the possibility of runaway climate change bounced back to the top of the agenda this week with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saying global warming is a very real threat to international peace and security.

“Extreme weather events continue to grow more frequent and intense in rich and poor countries alike, not only devastating lives, but also infrastructure, institutions, and budgets — an unholy brew which can create dangerous security vacuums,” said Ban, addressing the Security Council’s debate on the impact of climate change on international peace and security.

He said a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Durban, South Africa, in December must make progress in reaching a new agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change and funding mitigation efforts.

“Durban must provide a clear step forward on mitigation commitments and actions by all parties, according to their responsibilities and capabilities. Developed countries must lead, while at the same time emerging economies must shoulder their fair share,” Ban was quoted as saying.

“We cannot ignore history. But we must clearly recognise that there can be no spectators when it comes to securing the future of our planet.”

Ban’s comments took place at a Security Council session held on Wednesday to discuss whether the possible adverse effects of climate change may aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security.

“The Security Council expresses concern that possible security implications of loss of territory of some states caused by sea-level-rise may arise, in particular in small low-lying island states,” said the statement read by Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month.

The discussion about whether to consider establishing a climate change peacekeeping force underlines the growing importance of emissions-free wind power in mitigating the toxic effects of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.

EWEA’s data shows that by 2020, wind energy alone will avoid 31% of the EU’s 20% emissions reduction target, and if the EU moves to a more ambitious 30% target, wind energy will meet 20% of it.

The UN session occurred a week after a new report from Pike Research showing that global wind power capacity should almost triple by 2017.

Pike, a market research and consulting firm based in Boulder, Colorado, forecast that total wind generation capacity will increase from 194.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2010 to 562.9 GW in the next six years.

According to a press release, Pike forecasts that by 2017 wind power installations will represent a $153 billion (€106 bn) global industry, up from $56 billion (€39 bn) in 2010.