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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Discusses Security and Climate Change

15 February 2011: In an address to the Congress of Deputies of Spain at the Superior Centre of National Defence Studies in Madrid, Spain, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres noted that the link between security concerns and climate change has gained importance over the past few years.

Highlighting that unabated climate change will threaten "the stability on which humanity has built its existence," she warned that it could contribute to the emergence, spread and longevity of conflict. Figueres stated that adaptation and mitigation are "two keys that need to be turned to maintain the type of stability that will help nations flourish." She added that the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010, had put in place "a solid framework for the adaptation and mitigation keys to be turned." However, she underlined that more efforts are needed for the mitigation key to unlock the door to a climate-safe world.

Figueres observed that the military and business all have an urgent cause in bringing forward the broad-based political, economic and social benefits that climate change solutions offer. She underscored the urgency to invest time and resources "for the keys to be turned effectively." She called on defence chiefs everywhere to press for investment in low-carbon technology and in adaptation, especially in developing countries. [Figueres' Address]