Pandemics, killer robots and climate change ‘urgent’ security fears

Mass migration and resource wars billed as potential consequences if governments ignore potential of Paris deal and Earth keeps warming 

Climate change heightens the risk of violent conflict (Pic: Flickr/DVIDSHUB)

Climate change heightens the risk of violent conflict (Pic: Flickr/DVIDSHUB)

By Ed King

Killer robots, cyber attacks, Islamic fundamentalism, pandemics and climate change are among the major threats facing modern life.

Those are some of the conclusions in an 80-page report published ahead of the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top military thinkers, academics and politicians.

“The conflicts and crises that most preoccupy the world transcend and put into question borders and boundaries to a stunning extent,” write the report’s authors.

Prolonged droughts or fierce storms linked to a warming world are likely to exacerbate instability across Africa, the Middle East and in small island states, they argue.

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These types of events can result in economic slumps and migration, and magnify “ethnic tensions and civil strife.”

Of Africa they write: “The most urgent task facing Africa today and for decades ahead is to create opportunity for this next generation.

“Pervasive poverty, growing inequality, climate-driven migration, and rapid urbanization complicate this task – as does the prevalence of conflict throughout the continent.”

Rising temperatures also raise concerns over health security, linked to boosting “severe dengue fever outbreaks from seven to 100 countries by increasing the mosquito habitat”.

Still, the report says the successful conclusion of the UN climate summit in Paris last December demonstrates diplomacy is still an answer to some of the world’s most intractable problems.

“The landmark climate deal signed in Paris in December 2015, a big achievement of French diplomacy, reflects a shared global sense of urgency – and represents a major shift in approaching big issues,” it says, adding: “But implementation is key – and uncertain.”

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