Saturday, 10 January 2015

Climate change 'will foster terrorism and fuel immigration'

Last month, during the UN conference in Lima
Futures Forum: Climate change: zero emissions target

... a former adviser to the Bangladeshi president warned about the dangers posed by climate change - as reported in the Telegraph:

Climate change 'will foster terrorism and fuel immigration to UK'

Millions of people in Bangladesh are likely to be displaced by global warming, leading to radicalisation and migration overseas, military chief warns

A woman collects drinking water in the flooded village of Godadhar, Bangladesh

Experts acknowledge that Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, such as increased flooding. Photo: REUTERS

By Emily Gosden, Lima 12 Dec 2014

Climate change will foster terrorism and will fuel immigration to the UK as millions of people are displaced by rising sea levels, a senior military figure has warned.

Major General Munir Muniruzzaman, a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh, said his country simply did not have enough space to cope with the rising numbers of people who would be forced to leave their homes due to global warming.

A large displaced and marginalised climate refugee population would become “a breeding ground for recruitment for extremists and radicals”, he warned. Displaced people would attempt to flee Bangladesh and many would likely seek refuge in the UK, where there is a substantial Bangladeshi population, General Muniruzzaman, head of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACC), warned.

“There will be pressures, both from the people living in the UK to save the relations who are displaced - or from the displaced people in Bangladesh trying to reach out to their relatives in the UK,” he told theTelegraph.

GMACC is a group of serving and retired military leaders concerned about the security implications of climate change. The group includes the UK’s Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, who served as climate envoy to then-foreign secretary William Hague last year.

The warning comes as delegates from 190 countries enter the final hours of UN talks in Peruvian capital Lima where they are attempting to make progress towards a global deal on tackling climate change, due to be signed in Paris next year. Progress in Lima has been slow and talks were expected to go late into the night on Friday to thrash out an agreement on the next steps countries must take in pledging to cut their carbon emissions.

Scientists say the effects of climate change are already being felt and warming will continue due to existing emissions. Bangladesh is widely acknowledged to be one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change.

General Muniruzzaman said there was already a “trickle” of Bangladeshi people being displaced from rural areas and moving to already-overcrowded slums in Dhaka, due to riverbank erosion and falling crop productivity. “These are direct effects of climate change because the river cycles have changed,” he said. “It will become a serious problem within the next decade and beyond.”

He said there would be tensions over scarce resources in Bangadesh. “We are looking at the prospect of more recruiting potential out of this marginalized people by terrorism organizations and extremist organizations. It is a very scary picture,” he said.

By 2050, a sea level rise of one metre could result in vast areas of the country being lost and displace many millions of people, General Muniruzzaman said. A Bangladeshi government strategy paper on climate change estimates that more than 20 million people could be displaced by rising sea levels, extreme weather and other effects of climate change.

“The settlement of these environmental refugees will pose a serious problem for the densely populated Bangladesh and migration must be considered as a valid option for the country,” the document says.

General Muniruzzaman said: “The capability of the state to absorb this very large number of climate-displaced people is not there at all. So we are looking at prospect of… outward trans-border migration. Bangladesh is bordered on three sides by India and the India-Bangladesh border is already fenced by India so that people can’t get through. The fear is any large-scale migration attempts through the border into India will result in a large human catastrophe. In India itself the coastal regions are vulnerable like Bangladesh and it is already an extremely overpopulated country,” he said.

“These displaced people will try to reach anywhere they can go. No country is out of their reach. They will firstly reach out in the vicinity and if they can’t get there they will reach out to their friends and relations wherever they are - and a large segment of the Bangladeshi diaspora population lives in the UK.”

Climate change 'will foster terrorism and fuel immigration to UK' - Telegraph

The US Secretary of State spoke in similar terms in Lima:

This is not the first warning that climate change will lead to mass migration and radicalisation. The General’s statements come at the same time as U.S.Secretary of State John Kerry warned that climate change now ranks alongside terrorism, nuclear proliferation and epidemics as a threat to global security.

Immigration and Terrorism Will Increase With Climate Change, Says Military Leader | DeSmogBlog

A Pentagon report the month before had pointed to these specific dangers:

Regional stability: The shortage of vital resources like food or water has the power to quickly destabilize an already vulnerable region. The CNA Military Advisory Board, made up of retired generals and admirals, recently called the effects of climate change "catalysts for conflict" in unstable regions.

Why climate change poses an 'immediate threat' to national security - The Week
Pentagon: Climate Change Could ‘Foster’ Terrorism | Mediaite
Pentagon to release report on security challenges posed by climate change | Fox News

And the Middle East is one such area:

How Climate Change Helped ISIS

Posted: 09/29/2014 5:42 pm EDT Updated: 11/29/2014 5:59 am EST

As the Obama administration undertakes a highly public, multilateral campaign to degrade and destroy the militant jihadists known as ISIS, ISIL and the Islamic State, many in the West remain unaware that climate played a significant role in the rise of Syria's extremists. A historic drought afflicted the country from 2006 through 2010, setting off a dire humanitarian crisis for millions of Syrians. Yet the four-year drought evoked little response from Bashar al-Assad's government. Rage at the regime's callousness boiled over in 2011, helping to fuel the popular uprising. In the ensuing chaos, ISIS stole onto the scene, proclaimed a caliphate in late June and accelerated its rampage of atrocities including the recent beheadings of three Western civilians.

While ISIS threatens brutal violence against all who dissent from its harsh ideology, climate change menaces communities (less maliciously) with increasingly extreme weather. Most of us perceive these threats as unrelated. We recycle water bottles and buy local produce to keep the earth livable for our children -- not to ward off terrorists. Yet environmental stressors and political violence are connected in surprising ways, sparking questions about collective behavior. If more Americans knew how glacial melt contributes to catastrophic weather in Afghanistan -- potentially strengthening the Taliban and imperiling Afghan girls who want to attend school -- would we drive more hybrids and use millions fewer plastic bags? How would elections and legislation be influenced?

The drought that preceded the current conflict in Syria fits into a pattern of increased dryness in the Mediterranean and Middle East, for which scientists hold climate change partly responsible. Affecting 60 percent of Syria's land, drought ravaged the country's northeastern breadbasket region; devastated the livelihoods of 800,000 farmers and herders; and knocked two to three million people into extreme poverty. Many became climate refugees, abandoning their homes and migrating to already overcrowded cities. They forged temporary settlements on the outskirts of areas like Aleppo, Damascus, Hama and Homs. Some of the displaced settled in Daraa, where protests in early 2011 fanned out and eventually ignited a full-fledged war.

Drought did not singlehandedly spawn the Syrian uprising, but it stoked simmering anger at Assad's dictatorship. This frustration further destabilized Syria and carved out a space in which ISIS would thrive.

The connection between climate change and conflict continues to evade mainstream recognition, despite reports by think tanks, academics and even military experts. A leading panel of retired generals and admirals, the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, recently labeled the impacts of climate change "catalysts for conflict" in vulnerable regions. The Pentagon concluded similarly in this year's Quadrennial Defense Review that the effects of climate change are "threat multipliers," enabling terrorism and other violence by aggravating underlying societal problems.

There is no shortage of nations whose political stability and climate are both vulnerable...

Toting a metal water bottle is good, but it's time for ordinary people to consider the bigger picture. When we fail to get the facts right about greenhouse gas emissions, we may unwittingly enable ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and other extremist groups to flourish. As we consider our personal positions on climate change, it is important to understand all that is at stake in our interconnected world.

How Climate Change Helped ISIS | Charles B. Strozier

Another part of the world being affected by climate change - with political consequences - is Africa:

Climate change fuels Nigeria terrorism

By EMMANUEL MAYAH in Lagos | Friday, February 24 2012 at 19:47

Boko Haram sect members arrested in 2009. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW

Experts have identified some of the foot soldiers and mercenaries in the Nigeria Boko Haram sect violence as people displaced by severe drought in neighbouring Niger Republic.

Following the arrest of the sect’s spokesman Abu Qaqa and over 70 suspected Boko Haram members, it was discovered that a majority of the fighters were not religious fundamentalists as portrayed to the public and had no knowledge of basic verses in the Quran.

A State Security Service (SSS) source said: “Since the arrest of Qaqa, we have picked more than 70 key coordinators and members of Boko Haram for interrogation. One of the strange things we discovered is that contrary to their posturing, most of them are not well-versed in Quranic memorisation and recitation, or deep knowledge of Quran. Some have a smattering knowledge of Quran. Most of them also could not give cogent reasons for doing what they are doing.”

As one of the severest droughts and food shortages hit Nigeria’s neighbours, especially Chad and Niger, Red Cross figures have it that over 200,000 farmers and herdsmen had been provided with food rations. With livestock decimated and harvests insufficient, farmers and herdsmen facing starvation had to cross the border in search of a better life in Nigeria.

While a good number of these men were found in major cities like Lagos, pushing water carts and repatriating their earnings to the families they left behind, others were believed to have been lured by the Boko Haram.

Climate change fuels Nigeria terrorism - News - africareview.com

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