The Heat Is Online

Climate Change Will Threaten Britain's National Security

Britain Warns Climate Change Threatens Security

Planetark.org, Oct. 25, 2006

LONDON - British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett will warn Europe on Tuesday to tackle climate change or risk terrorists seizing on famine, water shortages and failing energy infrastructures to threaten global security.

In her first major foreign policy speech, to a group of experts in Berlin, Beckett will call on the European Union to lead a global push toward new technologies and renewable energy, warning EU countries are already "dangerously behind the curve".

Beckett, according to a text of her speech obtained by Reuters, will cite reduced rainfall in the Middle East as a possible trigger for security problems.

"Look at those things that are highest on the European agenda -- strong borders, poverty reduction, the risks of conflict and international terrorism, energy security, jobs and growth," Beckett will say.

"Get our response right to climate change and our ability to deal with all of these is enhanced. Get it wrong and our efforts across the board will be undermined."

Beckett's speech follows an EU leaders' meeting in Finland last week that focused on energy policy and urged action on climate change.

She will say climate change, with drastically diminishing resources in some of the most volatile parts of the world, has the potential to create a "potentially catastrophic dynamic" in regions already at breaking point.

Beckett, a former environment minister, will say the Middle East is a case in point as climate models suggest Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq will be among those countries to see the biggest rainfall reductions in the world.

Egypt -- a pivotal country for regional stability -- will suffer a double blow, she will say, as loss of flow from the river Nile and rising sea-levels in the north are set to destroy the country's agricultural heartland.

Beckett will urge governments to produce incentives and penalties designed to drive private capital toward a low-carbon world economy.

"The greatest security threat we face as a global community won't be met by guns and tanks," she will say.

"It will be solved by investment in the emerging techniques of soft power -- building avenues of opportunity that will lead to a low-carbon economy."