Climate change a major security problem, says U.K. defense chief

U.K. Defense Secretary John Reid has echoed a growing number of analysts by stressing that global warming is not just a weather problem, or a health problem, or a problem for biodiversity. It’s a global security problem. In a Monday speech, Reid called on the nation’s military to prepare now for strife brought on by desertification, water shortages, melting ice fields, and increased population. “The blunt truth is that the lack of water and agricultural land is a significant contributory factor to the tragic conflict we see unfolding in Darfur,” said Reid. “We should see this as a warning sign.” Reid’s cheery comments came on the eve of a summit at which Prime Minister Tony Blair will discuss Great Britain’s response to global warming. They also coincided with a leak of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s next big report, which indicates that the planet could heat up far more than previously predicted.