Threats of climate change more acute in South Asia: Kerry

"Nowhere is the nexus between today's threats and climate change more acute than in South Asia, the home of Al Qaeda and the center of our terrorist threat," said Senator John Kerry, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, comparing the impact of climate change in the region with the threat posed by terrorism.

"Scientists are now warning that the Himalayan glaciers, which supply water to almost a billion people from China to Afghanistan, could disappear completely by 2035.

"Water from the Himalayas flows through India into Pakistan. India's rivers are not only agriculturally vital, they are also central to its religious practice," Kerry said at a hearing on 'Climate Change and Global Security' by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Pakistan, for its part, is heavily dependent on irrigated farming. Even as our government scrambles to ratchet down tensions and prepares to invest billions to strengthen Pakistan's capacity to deliver for its people, climate change is threatening to work powerfully in the opposite direction," Kerry argued.

"Just as 9/11 taught us the painful lesson that oceans could not protect us from terror, today we are deluding ourselves if we believe that climate change will stop at our borders," he said.

Climate change, Kerry argued, injects a major new source of chaos, tension, and human insecurity into an already volatile world.

"It threatens to bring more famine and drought, worse pandemics, more natural disasters, more resource scarcity, and human displacement on a staggering scale," he said.

"Places only too familiar with the instability, conflict, and resource competition that often create refugees and IDPs will now confront these same challenges with an ever growing population of EDPs (environmentally displaced people)," Kerry said.

"We risk fanning the flames of failed-statism, and offering glaring opportunities to the worst actors in our international system. In an interconnected world, that endangers all of us," he added.

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