What does climate change have to do with peace?
Working for peace isn’t just about what we’re fighting against; it’s about what we’re fighting for and the kind of world we want to live in. Climate change is a peace and security issue. The effects of climate change have already caused meteorological, social, and political disasters in the most vulnerable of environments, and extreme weather events are occurring more frequently than ever before.
Climate change is directly tied to peace. If unabated, it will lead increasingly to severe food and water shortages, which worsen or cause territorial conflict. It will also lead to coastal flooding, which means mass migrations and increased conflicts as nations grapple with an influx of climate refugees, who currently are not protected under any international law.
For peace, we must change to green, sustainable energy and ward off the worst damages of climate change.
The Danger of Fossil Fuels
The primary cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide into the air. As a greenhouse gas, in large quantities carbon dioxide absorbs radiated heat and then traps it in the atmosphere, resulting in the heating up of the atmosphere and subsequently the surface of the earth. Thus, increased release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere results in negative effects on the respiratory system and increased global temperature, causing rising sea levels and degraded biodiversity.
How else does climate change lead to political instability?
- Severe weather leads to crop failure, which decreases agricultural production and creates food insecurity.
- Decreased natural resources means fewer job opportunities and an economic decline.
- Extreme weather causes the destruction of residential areas, and populations are displaced in massive numbers.
- Population displacement stresses Governmental resources, and citizens begin resenting the Government for the limitations of its aid, increasing the risk of violence in local communities.