2017 was the hottest year in history, marked by heavy rainfall, droughts, strong winds and other extreme meteorological phenomena. Given this situation, some critics and academics warn politicians that progress towards a more sustainable future is being very slow. It is necessary to bear in mind that the devastating consequences of climate change are being suffered all over the world. According to Oxfam, between 2008 and 2016 an average of 21.8 million people were moved to other places to escape from the environmental conditions that had been created. Generally, the most affected people are those who are from countries with low standards of living, who are at five times more risk of being moved than people who live in countries with better standards of living.
While the International community was debating the implementation of the Paris Agreement (2015) at the United Nations, COP23 conference in Bonn, Trump announced United States withdrawal as an actor in the International fight against climate change. The President promised to reduce gas emissions, which amount to 20% of total emissions in the world, but its withdrawal from the agreement has meant a lack of commitment to reduce levels of pollution. The Trump administration has decided that climate change is no longer a threat to be discussed in the National Security Agenda. Luckily, most actors, a total of 197 signatories, who are part of the International community have continued to defend the initiative.
A study shows the positive correlation between climate change and high conflict levels. Climate change affects economic, political and security systems in global terms: it destabilises them and creates constant competition for natural resources. This phenomenon is considered a threat by those states that have a limited capacity to fight it. For example, energy from combustion fossil not only promotes climate change but also has an immediate effect: air contamination is the number 1 cause of death of all existing forms of contamination and was the cause of nearly 6.5 deaths in 2015. Contamination kills 15 times more people than war and all forms of violent conflict combined, according to the annual report of Munich Security Conference. We must not forget that over 20 countries, including France, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico, promised that they would achieve a gradual elimination of coal energy, which is a potent accelerator of climate change, but a sufficiently satisfactory result is yet to be demonstrated. The production of necessary energy will increase 30% in 2040, equivalent to adding another India or China to the production of energy at this moment.
Links of interest:
- Kendra Sakaguchi, Anil Varughese, and Graeme Auld, “Climate Wars? A Systematic Review of Empirical Analyses on the Links Between Climate Change and Violent Conflict”, International Studies Review, 5 October 2017.