Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NATO Countries Worry Trump Will Undo Climate Progress, Drafts Show

A series of reports released ahead of the NATO summit warn of national security risks created by climate change and raise concerns about the Trump administration.

Whether the U.S. will remain in the Paris climate agreement is still an open question, one that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been unable to answer. (Credit: Virginia Mayo/AFP/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
NATO's member countries published a series of draft reports this week highlighting the economic and security risks posed by climate change, and encouraging nations to stand by their international climate commitments.

The reports, released ahead of a NATO summit on Thursday, also raise concerns that the Trump administration may undermine global efforts to tackle the issue.

"The United States played a leading role in pushing for the Paris Agreement, but there are now signs that it may reject its structures and even the science underlying it.  This would represent a serious setback," said one of the draft reports, released by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.  The assembly is not part of NATO but represents the legislative bodies of member nations; the reports were drafted by legislative members for assembly discussion.

"International action becomes very difficult without U.S. participation, and there needs to be a dialogue to keep the United States within the reigning political and scientific consensus," the draft report said.

President Donald Trump will attend his first meeting of the trans-Atlantic military alliance this week in Brussels, where leaders are expected to discuss tensions with Russia, terrorism and other issues.  As a candidate, Trump called NATO "obsolete," but he has expressed support for the alliance since taking office.

The parliamentary assembly's draft reports address security risks in the Middle East and North Africa and the Arctic, as well as global economic risks from climate change.

One report says that increasing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa has coincided with regional drought and that climate change is expected to make the problems worse.

"Climate change exacerbates already existing natural climatic variability of precipitation," the report said, adding that food and water shortages contributed to unrest during the Arab Spring and the ongoing war in Syria.  "This can be devastating in an arid or semi-arid region, especially in rural areas where people's livelihood directly depends on small scale rain fed agriculture."

Read more at NATO Countries Worry Trump Will Undo Climate Progress, Drafts Show

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