GLOBAL WARMING will make armed conflict increasingly likely in the next 30 years as habitable land and resources become scarce, the Ministry of Defence warned last week.
Tensions will grow as displaced populations are forced to encroach on neighbouring land, the MoD anticipates.
And there will also be increased pressure on fresh water and agricultural land, especially in already volatile regions like parts of Africa and the Middle East.
The conclusion is contained in 'The future strategic context for defence', an MoD study into scenarios likely to cause regional and international friction.
It identifies climate change as a major destabilising force this century .
'Average global temperatures could rise by between 2degreesC and 4degreesC in the course of the next century, ' the report warns.
Effects will include rising sea levels and extensive flooding of coastal areas changes in flora and fauna, affecting agriculture increased geographical spread of infectious disease increased incidence of natural disasters associated with extreme weather conditions Competition for water resources 'can be expected to exacerbate existing tensions and instability in those regions, ' the report states.
'At the same time, widespread degradation of renewable resources, for example forests, fisheries, soils and water, is likely to continue', straining international or regional relationships further.
Global warming will also contribute to tension and 'potential conflict between industrialised countries, which are seen to be the primary source of the problem, and developing countries which bear the brunt of the effects'.