WASHINGTON Climate change could end
globalization by 2040 as nations look inward to conserve scarce
resources and conflicts flare when refugees flee rising seas
and drought, national security experts warned on Monday.
Scarcity could dictate the terms of international
relations, according to Leon Fuerth of George Washington
University, one of the report's authors.
Global cooperation based on a resource-rich world could
give way to a regime where vital commodities are scarce, Fuerth
said at a forum to release "The Age of Consequences."
"Some of the consequences could essentially involve the end
of globalization as we have known it ... as different parts of
the Earth contract upon themselves in order to try to conserve
what they need to survive," said Fuerth, who was national
security adviser to former Vice President Al Gore.
Rich countries could "go through a 30-year process of
kicking people away from the lifeboat" as the world's poorest
face the worst environmental consequences, which he said would
be "extremely debilitating in moral terms."
"It also suggests the kinds of hatreds that build up
between different groups will be accentuated as these groups
attempt to move to more clement locations on the planet,"
Published by the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, the report offers three scenarios for security
implications of climate change, starting with the middle-ground
estimate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This scenario, which the report said could be expected,
forecasts global warming of 2.3 degrees F (1.3 degrees C), with
sea level rise of about 9 inches by 2040.
"We predict a scenario in which people and nations are
threatened by massive food and water shortages, devastating
natural disasters and deadly disease outbreaks," said John
Podesta, President Bill Clinton's former chief of staff and now
president of the Center for American Progress think tank.
Podesta called this outcome inevitable, even if the United
States -- the world's biggest emitter of climate-warming carbon
dioxide -- enters immediately into an international system to
cap and trade credits for the potent greenhouse gas.
This is unlikely, though a bill to limit carbon emissions
is up for debate, possibly as soon as this week, in the
Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee. President
George W. Bush has opposed mandatory caps on emissions, saying
they would hurt the U.S. economy.
Climate change will force internal and cross-border
migrations as people leave areas where food and water are
scarce. They will also flee rising seas and areas devastated by
the droughts, floods and severe storms that are also forecast
consequences of climate change.
South Asia, Africa and Europe will be particularly
vulnerable to these mass migrations, notably from countries
where Islamic fundamentalism has grown, Podesta said.
In the Middle East, he said, the politics of water will
hold sway, with the Jordan River creating a physical link to
the interests of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the
(Editing by Jackie Frank)