UCL News


Press cutting: There is now no doubt that global warming is a security threat to us all

18 April 2007

Yesterday the security council of the United Nations discussed climate change for the very first time.

Not some environmental subcommittee, not a platitudinous exchange of slogans in the general assembly, nor even the intergovernmental panel on climate change, but the security council. The same security council that usually grapples with border disputes, sanctions or weapons of mass destruction - that security council was yesterday debating carbon emissions and the danger they pose to the Earth. …

The glum reality is that governments tend to take security threats more seriously than any other kind. …

This makes political sense: cast global warming as an environmental or science issue, and it will be given a budget to match. Cast it as a problem for the big boys, on a par with nuclear proliferation or international terror, and then it should get a big-boy budget and attention.

Not that that requires any stretching of the facts. Professor Bill McGuire [Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre] says climate change compares to terrorism in the way a "huge festering sore compares to a pimple". To call it a threat to our safety is not a PR trick, it is a statement of the truth. …

Jonathan Freedland, 'The Guardian'