At a London conference on ‘Climate Change: the Global Security Impact’, security and climate experts said on Wednesday that global warming has the potential to divide the world’s rich and poor still further, radicalising populations and fanning terrorism in the worst affected countries.
Sir Crispin Tickell, Britain’s former UN ambassador, said terrorists would use desperate measures to exploit tensions created by rising sea levels and shortages of food and water.
John Mitchell, chief scientist at Britain’s Met Office, noted that al Qaeda had already included environmental damage on its list of grievances against the US.
In a “letter to the American people” in 2002, Osama bin Laden wrote:
“You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries”.
Ironically, having been obsessed for so long with fighting terrorism while ignoring climate change, the US government may now face a new wave of terrorism directly caused by climate change.
We live in interesting times.