Climate Change Could Lead to More Failed States: British FM

Chronic water shortages caused by climate change could force millions more people -- like farmers in China's Gobi Desert, seen here in May 2006 -- to become "environmental refugees," according to a report by British charity Tearfund.

Global warming is exacerbating disputes over access to water and food resources, and could lead to more failed states, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett warned in an interview published in the Financial Times on Tuesday.

"There are nations in a very delicate condition and (global warming) will tip some of them over into being failed states," Beckett told the newspaper in Berlin.

Beckett is making her first visit to the German capital and is expected, the FT said, to use the opportunity to call on Germany to stress climate change as it takes over the presidencies of both the European Union and the Group of Eight industrialised nations grouping next year.

The foreign secretary told the newspaper that, in particular, states in "eastern Europe, Asia and Africa are suffering great tensions", and referred specifically to the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur as an example. She said that water disputes between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were also a concern.

Beckett added that the United States might reverse its stance of opposition to the Kyoto protocol if smaller-scale initiatives being launched within the country are successful.

California, for example, has agreed to work more closely with Britain to tackle the environmental and economic consequences of climate change, and has started its own energy-saving initiatives.

If these efforts, along with others, are successful, it would "have an effect" on US President George W. Bush's administration, Beckett said.

Source: AFP

Other news