The AP report by Edith M. Lederer that the UN Security Council will be dealing with the issue of global climate change is welcome news. One cannot find it interesting, however, that the talks will focus upon threats to international security. It is not very encouraging that the focus is upon security and not possible demands for future humanitarian needs.
The article says that the council will examine the impacts of climate change upon water supplies, agriculture, possible famines and the loss of islands and coastal areas to sea level rise. This comes on the heels of the final UPCC report that rates many of these concerns as high and the politically incorrect “very high” probability that these events will occur in the foreseeable future.
There should be cause for concern that the Security Council will address this issue. If it has gotten to the point that the council will address the possible problems then I suspect that the issues are definitely real and that strong actions will have to taken. The UPCC report indicates that the impacts will be a little easier for the developed nations by virtue of their economic resources and technology. Where does this leave the third world nations? Given that the council will be looking at security issues tells me that poorer nations will not be on the receiving end of aid, but rather on the receiving end of military might.
The developed nations know that they cannot easily absorb tens of millions of refugees that may be displaced by drought, famine, loss of water and sea rise. If the issue is security does this mean that attempts will me bade to isolate effected areas and even go so far as to prevent migrations? Will plans be made to let refugees in, or to keep them out? Are plans going to be made to find solutions to water and food issues or are they going to look at ways to secure the food and water supplies that they have?
The key concern is that developed nations have the power to prevent poorer nations from sending millions to their shores in search of aid. Already, many European countries and the U.S. are trying to find ways to close their borders to migration. How will they deal with the problem if the numbers seeking to migrate due to climate change soars into the millions? Will they be forcibly kept to suffer the changes on their own without assistance or will the world rally to the cause and pull together as one planet?
While I am glad that the issue finally has the attention of world leaders I am deeply concerned that they are focusing on security and not aid. What is also of interest is that there does not appear to be any plans to expedite solutions to our emission levels. We are still looking at plans that do little for the next ten or twenty years. Do we have that luxury? Should we not be more concerned on how we can help others to cope with “very high” probability changes? While security will probably be a concern we are on the borderline of allowing many to perish?