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NEWS: British envoy says recent uprisings a ‘prequel’ to climate change protests

Reuters reports that, “A string of Arab uprisings are giving a foretaste of the likely havoc that climate change will cause without greater effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a British foreign ministry official warned. …’Treat this as a prequel, because if we can’t remove some of those upward pressures on resource stresses then crises that are difficult to deal with when they happen will become more likely,’ said John Ashton, special representative for climate change at Britain’s foreign ministry.”

“Soaring food prices, stoked by Russia’s drought last year and subsequent ban on wheat exports, were an additional trigger in the popular revolts across North Africa and the Middle East mostly blamed on public frustration with autocratic rule. …(Ashton) used the example of food riots in Mozambique after the Russian wheat export ban. …A Libyan uprising follows revolts which toppled the long-time rulers of Tunisia and Egypt and threatened entrenched dynasties including Bahrain.”

Ashton stated, “Without climate security, we will lose control of food, water and energy security. …Tunisians first came onto the streets in protest at high food prices, driven up by climatically-intensified supply shocks. Climate change is a stress multiplier. It is hard to imagine a more effective engine than our interconnected insecurities over climate, food, water and energy for driving angry young people onto the streets of crowded cities. It cannot be switched off in a high carbon economy.”

The United Nations World Water Development Report has predicted “that by 2030, nearly half of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress.” A Globe and Mail article on that UN report says, “The UN is worried that squabbles over water in politically unstable areas are increasingly driving conflicts, requiring the development of new security strategies to resolve these disputes. It says the water woes could increase the risk of national and international security threats, pointing to a number of countries that could be vulnerable to conflicts over water resources, including Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Haiti, Sri Lanka and Colombia, among others.” More on this at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=31.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has highlighted, “Climate justice is water justice, you can’t have one without the other.”

The Reuters article is at http://af.reuters.com/article/libyaNews/idAFLDE71K1ZW20110222?sp=true. An additional report is at http://www.politics.co.uk/news/environment-and-rural-affairs/climate-change-demands-new-diplomacy–$21387387.htm.