Climate change is one of our absolute greatest threats to peace and security. When more people are to agree on fewer resources, a breeding ground for conflicts is created. Now we must do everything we can to stop the climate crisis - and at the same time prepare for rescue work and refugee reception, write Green students.
We are in a state of emergency for the climate. Extreme weather, changing conditions for food producers and the impact of rising sea levels on coastal communities are problems that are already visible in parts of the world. To understand the global security policy conditions of the future, decision-makers need to take into account the impact of climate change. Cultural conflicts, resource disputes and climate refugees are just some of the predictable consequences that need to be taken into account. Green Students therefore want to see a focus on climate-related security issues in the work for global peace.
With a growing population, more people need somewhere to live. At the same time, global warming is making more and more places uninhabitable. Extreme weather becomes more common when the climate becomes warmer. Where it rains a lot it will rain more and where it is dry it will be drier. When sea levels rise, entire coastal communities can end up below the surface and where it gets too hot, either drought or fires prevent the conditions for stable food production. This also makes resources more difficult to access while at the same time being sufficient for more people. How can peace and security be promoted when more people are to agree on fewer resources in a smaller area?
Water and food supplies are threatened
South Asia is a good example of a region where the effects of climate change hit large populations hard and create serious humanitarian and security policy problems. Areas such as West Bengal in India are facing double problems, as in addition to the risk of losing a lot of land to higher sea levels, they also have a large part of their economy and energy supply tied to coal. In Myanmar, an otherwise relatively good water supply risks the groundwater being mixed with salt from the sea level rises. Looking at the whole of South Asia, the Asian Development Bank estimates that the number of malnourished children may increase to seven million by 2050 due to reduced capacity for food production in the region.
The international community needs to be prepared for this. Green Students therefore wants Sweden and the EU to contribute with rescue work in the event of natural disasters, help build crisis preparedness in the countries that will be worst affected and be ready when climate refugees need a new home. This may involve civilian assistance such as medical care and emergency services in extreme weather, green infrastructure to relieve stormwater systems and reduce the risk of floods, as well as fire protection and the construction of food storage.
Our societies also need to be ready to receive more people. When other parts of the world become uninhabitable as a consequence of climate change, this is where they will flee, not least for access to clean water. To equip Sweden and the EU countries for a humane and dignified reception of refugees now is necessary for the future.
Most important to prevent climate change
The most important thing of course is to prevent as much of this as possible. Sweden must do as much as possible in the EU, the UN and development aid to prevent climate change and mitigate its effects as far as possible. If the climate crisis is not halted now, global security will be seriously jeopardized. A radical transition to climate-smart societies around the world is absolutely necessary to tackle the climate crisis in a serious way, and the transition must take place now - the climate cannot wait.
The climate threat must be handled as a security threat. The capacity to defend oneself against climate-related problems may be the most important defense for working for global peace. When we become more people who will agree on fewer resources and smaller areas, a breeding ground is created for conflicts and battles. If we do not do everything we can to both prevent and prepare for it, we are out on very thin and slippery ice. Ice as global warming soon melts away.