Climate change creating tensions across the world: Kerry

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Washington, Nov 11:The effects of climate change like extreme drought are creating tensions across the world, including in the Indus river basin, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said as he linked the complex issue with national security ahead of a major UN climate summit later this month.

Kerry said the prospect of a hotter, drier climate throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia will place more strain on the most precious resource of all -– fresh water.

John Kerry

"We have already seen tensions rise around the basins of the Nile River in Africa, the Indus River in South Asia, and of course, the Mekong River in Southeast Asia," he said. Covering an area of more than 1 million square kilometers, the Indus basin touches 4 countries: China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Kerry said the bottom line is that the impacts of climate change can exacerbate resource competition, threaten livelihoods and increase the risk of instability and conflict. "Because the world is so extraordinarily interconnected today –- economically, technologically, militarily, in every way imaginable.

Instability anywhere can be a threat to stability everywhere," he said. In a major foreign policy speech, Kerry said the US will have to integrate climate considerations into every aspect of its foreign policy -– from development and humanitarian aid to peace-building and diplomacy.

"That starts with getting a better understanding of the complex links between climate change and national security." Kerry's comments come ahead of a major meeting that will bring 195 countries together to seek an agreement at limiting global warming to a maximum of 2C above pre-industrial levels.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, from November 30 to December 11 in Paris, aims to achieve a binding agreement on climate change. Kerry, who will attend the UN meeting, said: "If we can better identify 'red flags' of risk around the world, we can better target our diplomacy and development assistance in order to enable those nations to become more resilient, more secure, and less likely to fall into a full-fledged war or humanitarian crisis."

The Obama Administration, he said, has made climate change a priority and an effective global agreement is within reach. "Every single meeting we have we raise this, leading into the Paris talks next month," he said. "At the heart of that fight, we are seeking to reach an ambitious, durable, and inclusive agreement at the UN climate conference next month in Paris.

That's our goal." He said the kind of agreement "we're working toward is one that will prove that the world's leaders finally understand the scope of the challenge that we are up against."

PTI

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