Climate change called security threat

April 5, 2011 at 11:23 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, April 5 (UPI) -- Climate change threatens a global health catastrophe and could undermine global political stability and security, a British Medical Journal editorial says.

Medical and military leaders, in a joint editorial, warn that climate change "poses an immediate and grave threat, driving ill-health and increasing the risk of conflict, such that each feeds upon the other," a BMJ release reported Wednesday.

The authors cite several reports highlighting the threat that climate change poses to "collective security and global order."

For example, they say, the Pentagon's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress stressed the potential for climate change to contribute to "poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments."

Britain's Ministry of Defense has said "climate change will amplify existing social, political and resource stresses" and will shift "the tipping point at which conflict ignites."

"It might be considered unusual for the medical and military professions to concur," the editorial's authors said. "But on this subject we do.

"Although discussion is good, we can no longer delay implementing tough action that will make a difference, while quibbling over minor uncertainties in climate modeling.

"Unlike most recent natural disasters, this one is entirely predictable," the editorial said. "Doctors, often seen as authoritative, trusted, and independent by their communities, must make their voices heard in calling for such action."

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