Darfur crisis linked to climate change: UK

The conflict in Darfur is an early sign global security threats prompted by climate change, a senior representative of the British government warned April 16 on the eve of a special United Nations debate. “Like most conflicts, it’s complex. It results from an interplay of a lot of social and political and possibly ethnic factors,” said John Ashton, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s special ambassador on climate change. “But there is absolutely no doubt that it’s a more difficult conflict to deal with, because on top of all that, you’ve had a 40% fall in the rainfall in northern Darfur over the last 25 to 30 years, again in a way that’s entirely consistent with what the climate models would have told you to expect.”

Ashton said his government initiated the special session of the Security Council to kickstart dialogue on addressing the growing threat. “The security implications of climate changes are bigger than we thought even two or three years ago,” he said. “Their effects can already be seen in Darfur and in water shortages in Central Asia.”

“It’s another early sign of what we’re in for to a much larger degree unless we get the mitigation side of this right,” he told a conference call organized by National Environmental Trust, a U.S. conservation group. (Ottawa Citizen, April 17; BBC, April 16)

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said in her address to the Security Council: “The implications of climate change for our security are more fundamental and more comprehensive than any single conflict.” (AP, April 17)

See our last posts on Darfur, the struggle in the Sahel, and the global climate change.