Global conflicts threaten Pacific region security

Weekender

The Global Risks Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced that in the major five risks, two climate issues are included as the biggest challenges – ‘the extreme unusual weather’ such as heat wave or cold wave, and ‘the failure for responding to climate change’.
Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji stated at the UN General Assembly in September 2017, “Last year, we lost 44 of our own people and a third of our GDP when Fiji was struck by the biggest cyclone ever to make landfall in the southern hemisphere. It is the inevitable fact that climate change is as great a threat to global security.It is clear that global warming changes our very understanding of what our national interests are.”
According to Nasa, the main cause of climate change is the greenhouse effect. Assunlight penetrates the atmosphere and warms the surface of the earth, the heat is absorbed by the layer of greenhouse gases and re-emitted in all directions, warming the surface of the earth and the lower atmosphere (under the greenhouse gases) again. Nasa stated that carbon dioxide is the most important component of the atmosphere and is the most long-lived ‘forcing’ of climate change.
Epeli Vakatawa, ajournalist of Fiji One TV stated, “Carbon emission is a major player in climate change like global warming.”
According to the European Commission, one of the causes of carbon dioxide emissions in greenhouse gases is coal, oil and gas burning, and the other is logging and deforestation. And the reduction of trees removes the carbon dioxide-absorbing presence of the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect.But there is another important factor that affects global warming from the greenhouse effect – war. War itself emits carbon dioxide in the process of manufacturing, using and exploding weapons. Also, many actions taken during war led to further the emission of carbon dioxide.
Global security competition challenges human security
According to Mark Z Jacobson, a professor of environmental engineering at Stanford University, explosion of 50 nuclear warheads in 15 kilo-tonne class (similar power to atomic bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima on Aug 9, 1945) produces around 690 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of the United Kingdom. (By the data from World Bank, CO2 emissions per capita of the UK in 2017 was the eightinthe world.)
And carbon dioxide emission for the four years and nine months of the Iraq war was 140 million tonnes, similar to the annual amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 25 million American cars. Considering widespread global conflicts, the impact of war behaviour on both humanity and the environment cannot even be evaluated.
Professor Lee Woo-jin of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University said, “So-called desertification, which is devastated by war and destroys forests, is often heard. In contrast with the natural extension of the Sahara Desert, if the forest, soil and farmland are damaged by war or man-made cultivation, it is also possible that the ratio of sunlight reflected from the ground increases and the high pressure is reinforced to expand the dry climates”.
He added, “War will reduce energy efficiency because it worsens deviations of wealth among regions and leads to resource depletion and, on the other hand, makes rational use of resources difficult. As a result, this is likely to increase carbon dioxide emissions.”
Kenneth Herbert Young, director of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, stressed correlation between war and climate change. “Another problem is depleted uraniumused in cannons and tank shells.This depleted uranium evaporates into extremely small molecules when it hits targets and becomes radioactive for centuries. In conclusion, war is a very dirty business,” he said.
“If we eliminate the constant obsession for having new and improved ways of killing each other and the need for preparing war by stopping all wars, I do not doubt that global warming will disappear or at least be reduced to a viable level.”
Efforts for peace including resolving conflicts
HWPL, an international NGO under the UN Ecosoc, presents the DPCW (Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War) as a fundamental solution for global environment of peace. The declaration drafted by international law experts highlights the establishment of an international norm for peace-building. It also addresses war potential including reduction of arms through international cooperation and improving peace as a culture through participation of civil society.
Recently, countries such as Seychelles, Kingdom of eSwatini and Comoros haveofficially supported the DPCW. Tuvalu has also added support for the DPCW throughthe ‘Official Statement of the Governor-General of Tuvalu on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War’.
Lucia Kim, director of HWPLsaid, “If the official supportfrom the incumbent heads of states of each countryincreases, it will accelerate the resolution of security threats from conflicts. I think the South Pacific countries will be pioneers in changing the world if they participate in this movement.”
The Legislate Peace Campaign, one of the DPCW’s supporting activities, now has around 730,000 signatures in about 176 countries.
“The DPCW itself emphasises education and support, which is the only option we can make for world peace,” said Iakoba Taeia Italeli, Governor-General of Tuvalu.

  • Article from HWPL (Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light).

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