European governments have been told to plan for an era of conflict over energy resources, with global warming likely to trigger a dangerous contest between Russia and the west for the mineral riches of the Arctic.
A report from the EU’s top two foreign policy officials for a summit in Brussels this week warns that “significant potential conflicts” are likely in the decades ahead as a result of “intensified competition over access to, and control over, energy resources”.
The seven-page report, predicts that global warming will precipitate security issues for Europe, ranging from energy wars to mass migration, failed states and political radicalisation.
The report warns of greater rich-poor and north-south tension because global warming is disproportionately caused by the wealthy north and west while its impact will be most catastrophic in the poor south.
The officials single out the impact of the thawing Arctic and its emergence as a potential flashpoint of rival claims. Developments in the Arctic had “potential consequences for international stability and European security interests”.
But what are we going to do when we have mined the last drop out of the Arctic?