Climate change and rising sea levels pose one of the biggest threats to security in the Pacific and may spark a global conflict over energy reserves under Arctic ice, according to Australia's military.
A confidential security review by Australia's Defence Force, completed in 2007 but obtained in summary by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, said environmental stress had increased the risk of conflicts in the Pacific over resources and food.
But the biggest threat of global conflict currently lay beneath the Arctic as melting icecaps gave rise to an international race for undersea oil and gas deposits, it said.
"Environmental stress, caused by both climate change and a range of other factors, will act as a threat-multiplier in fragile states around the world, increasing the chances of state failure," said the summary, published in the Herald yesterday.
"The Arctic is melting, potentially making the extraction of undersea energy deposits commercially viable. Conflict is a remote possibility," the assessment said.
(Shanghai Daily via Agencies January 8, 2009)