BRUSSELS -Â Global warming, threatens to accentuate existing threats and risks in the developing world as well as in industrialised countries. It is the leading reason for developing security policies around the globe. The civil-military stabilisation of distant conflicts is a matter of high importance for the security of Europe.
Europe's environmental outlook for the 21st century is bleak. A report by the European Environment Agency, is predicting that the European continent would suffer more from global warming than other parts of the world. Europe has warmed up by one degree. The report shows that in Europe the annual precipitation changes show exacerbating differences between wet northern part of Europe and a dry Southern Europe. It also highlights the widespread vulnerability of Europe to global warming-induced climate change, with mountainous regions, coastal zones, the Mediterranean and the Arctic set to shoulder the largest share of the environmental burden.
Today climate change is a fact. Scientific data has established that the climate system is growing warmer and long-term changes to the climate are expected.Â Climate change is believed to contribute to the increasing number of natural disasters, with developing countries experiencing the most adverse effects, said a report published in Singapore at the opening of the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC). The report further said that increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters has created challenges for disaster response and so climate change is receiving increased attention from security policy makers.
A wide ranging consensus is emerging on the relevance of climate change for security politics. Global warming will have grave consequences for Europe's security and the subject climate change should therefore be included in Europe's security and defence strategy planning. It is difficult to foresee the consequences of climate change on the European security policies. A new poll has shown that an overwhelming majority of Europeans, 62 percent, consider climate change the second most serious problem facing today’s world.
However, they are doing very little to turn green when it comes to their lifestyle. It is limited to minor personal or financial effort such as separating waste for recycling and reducing consumption of energy, water or throw-away products.
As far as the effect of global warming for security policies, the main trend that can now be identified is that there is a danger that weak countries in crisis regions will become more destabilised. Developed countries on the European continent will be confronted with greater challenges in regard to crisis management, disaster relief as well as security challenges.
Furthermore, there is a connection between climate change end energy security. Developing countries will experience shortages of potable water. It is expected that in some African countries, the harvest of rain dependent crops will diminish by up to fifty percent. The shortage of resources, as water, will undermine human security and is expected in countries that are unable to adapt their production of food to changing climate environment.
Besides, the negative impact on human security it will also promote conflicts and therefore local governance capabilities are a major factor in determining whether these kind of conflicts can be resolved politically or will further cause destabilisation. In developing countries the institutional stability is exactly the one that is lacking.
Therefore, climate change can result in the aggravation of existing conflicts in developing countries. Especially, in Africa there is the danger that such conflicts will spill over into neighbouring states and so destabilise entire regions. In Europe the effects of climate change will for the mean time remain limited.
ChallengesÂ to the security policy of the industrialised nations on the European continent will be primarily indirect consequences of climate change.
Also today, the results of events in remote regions of the world are significantly threats to the domestic security of industrialised nations. These threats may increase should global warming cause the intensifying as well as the expansion of conflicts in developing countries.
Another trend is developing now. The link between climate change and energy security. Three factors must be taken into consideration:
* The first and the foremost, climate change will have negative effect on the security of energy supplies. Some of the countries that are gas and oil suppliers are in regions that will be especially affected by global warming. One of the dangerous regions is the Middle East and this because of the consequences of global warming.
* Second, global warming will cause countries to look for access to new energy resources.
* Third, in order to curb global warming nuclear energy is making a come-back, this is because of the rise in oil and gas prices and becomes an attractive solution for energy supply.
The G-8 leaders during their summit in Hokkaido, Japan, in a published statement did not go as far as openly endorsing nuclear energy. The statement said "we witness that a growing number of countries have expressed their interest in nuclear power programs as a mean to addressing climate change and energy security concerns." The G-8 group has said that it will launch an international initiative on "3S-based" nuclear energy infrastructure. The 3S means, Safeguards, safety and security. But, as nuclear energy is becoming attractive, the matter of nuclear waste disposal still remains unresolved.
Climate change is a security policy challenge for Europe and has to be taken into consideration by policy makers as they analyse the threats and the circumstances for the future.
In the attempt to prevent and mitigate climate change the main requirements are linked to the possible consequences of global warming. As a consequence, it is important to strengthen the governance capabilities of weak countries and at the same time peace building measures in conflict regions.
For the long-term Europe will have to develop more capabilities and skills for crisis management as well as for disaster relief. Climate change is a challenge of global dimensions and therefore preventive measures are a must, but at the same time it opens new possibilities of action while searching for new security policy measures.
It should be underlined that dealing with climate change and finding solutions needs a multicultural approach. Private corporations should take the lead on tackling emissions rather than wait for governments to pass legislation. There is an urgent need for businesses to asses and address their impact on global warming. Action by private corporations will prompt governments to pass legislative actions to address the climate change challenge effectively and economically.
Until now there is only little evidence of serious intent by industrialised states to take the needed measures in order to be able to face the challenges.