Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Warming War

By Kirsten Davies

There is a legal basis for the United Nations Security Council to declare climate change as a threat to international peace and security.

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The drought in Syria has pushed it into war. Credit: Christiaan Triebert

There have been metaphoric wars throughout recent history, such as the Cold War, the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. We are now in the era of the Warming War as the impacts of greenhouse gases threaten the future of human life on Earth. The concept of a Warming War moves beyond a metaphor as climate science continues to affirm the dangers and warns of its catastrophic impacts in the absence of urgent action.

Of particular concern are vulnerable states and communities, including small island developing states whose territorial integrity and sovereignty are directly challenged by the impacts of climate change. This could therefore be interpreted as a breach of international laws prohibiting acts of aggression and extraterritoriality.

There is already evidence of the capacity of climate change to seize territory, such...

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