British Army veteran and member of Extinction Rebellion, Donald Bell, explains his reasons for paying his respects at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day with a banner reading ‘Honour Their Sacrifice, Climate Change Means War.’
The action aimed to highlight the connection between rising global temperatures and an increase in the incidence of conflict and war. Research commissioned by the Ministry of Defence published in June this year points to a “growing recognition that climate change may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security.”
The report, which is titled ‘A changing climate: Exploring the implications of climate change for UK defence and security’, advises the Ministry of Defence on how to prepare the British Armed Forces for the effects of escalating climate change, including increased unrest and conflict resulting from shrinking food and water resources and the displacement of peoples. The report recommends that the Ministry of Defence alter the design of war games and strategic training exercises to account for “multiple simultaneous large-scale disasters” resulting from climate change, and to “support interoperability across the Armed Forces, emergency services, police, fire services and coastguard.”
The action called on the government to act to avert the increase in unrest, conflict and war anticipated by the Ministry of Defence report. The Committee on Climate Change – which advises the government on emissions reduction and reports on their progress – revealed in June this year that the government had reached only two of it’s 31 milestones and was on track with only four of the 21 indicators identified on the path to zero emissions.  The action made the point that, in this context, speaking up about consequences of unchecked warning is an act of remembrance.
A changing climate: Exploring the implications of climate change for UK defence and security here.
Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament here.
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