Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Climate Change a Major Security Threat on Par with Terrorism: European Officials

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Climate Change a Major Security Threat on Par with Terrorism: European Officials

Article excerpt

Climate change threatens security: Europeans

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OTTAWA - European officials are warning that climate change is a major threat to global security on par with terrorism and cyber attacks.

And that should give world leaders and their governments some extra impetus, the officials say, to reach a binding plan to curb global warming when they meet at the international climate change summit next week in Paris.

The connection between climate change and international security was the subject of a day-long meeting in Ottawa, which assembled diplomats and security experts from Europe, the United States and Canada.

The meeting took place as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to depart for a three-country trip that will end on Monday at the United Nations climate talks in Paris.

Nicolas Regaud, a special adviser on international relations for the French defence ministry, said droughts and famines caused by climate change will force mass migrations of people into already crowded cities -- fuelling terrorism and organized crime.

The connection is something that French officials are mindful of as they prepare to welcome the world to Paris for the climate summit, known as COP 21.

Regaud said that "all of France's political energy, to the highest level" is committed to making COP 21 a success, and "these senior political authorities have repeatedly stressed the close connection between climate change and international security."

The disruptive influences of climate change are already affecting poor countries with weak institutions, particularly along North Africa's Sahel belt, where encroaching deserts are destroying farmland, and access to food and water, he said.

"How can we ignore the fact that climate change will exacerbate economic, social and political tensions in countries where weaknesses are already blatantly obvious?" asked Regaud. …

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