Future wars to be fought for resources: DND
Canada may face challenges in the Arctic
MIKE DE SOUZA
Energy and water shortages combined with climate change could provoke wars within the next 15 years, warns an analysis by the Department of National Defence.
“Global reserves of crude oil could become problematic by 2025,” wrote Maj. John Sheahan in a draft version of the report, Army 2040: First Look. He wrote that barring the discovery of significant new reserves and adequate adoption of alternative fuel sources, critical energy shortages could before 2025.
“There can be little doubt that unrestricted access to reliable energy supplies is a global strategic issue, one for which, recently, numerous nations have been willing to fight, and have indeed done so,” said the report, released to Postmedia News through an Access to Information request.
“Thus the trend that envisions depletion of fossil fuels such as crude oil in coming decades may also contribute to international tensions if not violent conflict.”
Sheahan is part of a team of analysts that is researching long-term scenarios for Canada’s military.
The analysis warns that, even under conservative estimates, up to 60 countries could fall into a category of water scarcity or stress by 2050, making the natural resource “a key source of power” or a “basis for future conflict.”
The draft report said that despite some “vigorous debates” about the pace, cause, magnitude and impacts of global warming, there “can be no further debate that global climate change is occurring.”
A section of the report said that melting ice in the North and the potential reserves equivalent to as much as 22 per cent of the world’s fossil fuels, could also create new challenges for Canada in the Arctic.
Crop failures resulting in mass migrations and starvation, along with rising sea levels from melting ice caps and other factors, would be among the impacts.
“These sorts of changes could lead to impacts resulting in the abandonment of large urban and cropland areas, further aggravating a broad range of existing resource scarcities,” said the report.
The report said resource scarcity doesn’t directly cause violent conflicts, since those would also depend on other political, economic, military and social factors.