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www.diplo.de exclusive! Europe has to face up to the security policy impact of climate change

13.03.2008 - Press release

The increasing security policy impact of climate change means we need a European and multilateral strategy. This is what Federal Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his British counterpart David Miliband called for in a joint article for www.diplo.de.

For the two ministers, it is clear that "Climate change will act as a stress multiplier. It will exacerbate existing pressure on scarce resources, particularly energy, water and food ... Competition for scarce resources threatens to fuel migration. The impact is likely to be most acute in regions … which are prone to instability."

Of course people cannot be forced to tackle the causes of climate change and its direct impacts, nor can there be hard power options. Yet current studies show, the ministers say, that "there will be hard power consequences if we fail to rise to the challenge."

Thus David Miliband and Frank-Walter Steinmeier present the following proposals:

  1. Efforts to meet the new security risks triggered by climate change need to be intensified. One example is the EU Strategy on Central Asia in which water plays a key role.
  2. Given the increasing number of natural disasters, the two advocate closer monitoring of climate-related developments in crisis-prone areas.
  3. Even today, Europe has to consider how climate change will affect the strategic context of European foreign and security policy. A European Arctic policy is a priority for both ministers.

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