Note: The following was submitted for consideration by the United Nations Security Council for “Voices of a New Generation,” an interactive event held on Dec. 21, 2010. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or United Nations.
To the members of the UN Security Council:
In the year 2050, how old will you be?
My name is Janet Bering, I'm an American and in the year 2050 I will be 59, and witnessing the most pronounced effects of global warming. Decreasing water availability, desertification of previously arable land, increasingly severe flooding and storms, extinction of potentially economically viable species: all of these are effects of climate change that will directly threaten international peace and security, now and into the future. These changes in the natural world will lead to food shortages and the displacement of millions of people. The worst of these effects will be felt in underdeveloped areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, but the North will not be able to escape the surge of refugees needing somewhere to live. Violent conflicts will erupt from these tensions over food supplies and over migrants. These climate wars will quickly become the majority of conflicts fought on the planet, completely compromising global peace and security. As the climate continues to change, our globalized society will be pushed to the limit. If we work to reduce carbon dioxide emissions now we can mitigate some of these effects, but not all of them. The damage has been done, and we have to be prepared to deal with the consequences of additional degrees of warming.
- Janet Bering, 19, Houston, Texas, USA
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