Prince Charles: Climate change driving conflict, terrorism

Drought, scarce resources and loss of vital ecosystems are contributing to conflict around the world, says heir to British throne

By Ed King

Britain’s heir to the throne Prince Charles will head to next week’s Paris climate change summit with a strong warning for all participants: global warming generates conflict.

The prince will address an estimated 138 world leaders on Monday 29 November at the opening day of the UN COP21 talks, where a global pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions is to be discussed.

Asked in an interview with UK channel Sky News – recorded before the recent Paris attacks, if terrorism and conflict could be linked to climate change he replied: “Absolutely”.

Report: Syria climate study warned Assad of drought dangers in 2010

“Some of us were saying 20 something years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues, you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change which means that people have to move,” he said.

“There’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough, was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land but increasingly they came into the cities.”

As Climate Home reported recently, the prince is pushing for tougher targets to stem deforestation when countries meet in Paris.

A Paris deal could offer further support for a market-based plan to pay local communities and regional governments to protect existing forests – known as REDD+.

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