Climate change and war

Many commentators have been predicting that climate change will create conflict. Most of us have envisaged that the conflict will arise when large numbers of people have to move from land that climate change will make unfit for habitation. The great river deltas of the world are home to half a billion people and if global warming continues in the way that most scientists expect then these people will have to move on, literally.

That is perhaps the most likely source of conflict between humans that is foreseeable. History teaches that many conflicts are caused by greed, jealously and human ambition, but many have also been caused by geophysical events which have a human source. If one land becomes for whatever reason uninhabitable or inhospitable for a group of humans they will turn their attention to other lands where the grass is always greener.

A report published in the Proceedings of the Nataional Acadamey of Science for the United States has shown some connection between climate change and wars in Africa.

The authors, Burke, Miguel, Satyanath, Dykema and Lobell, all American academic researchers, have concluded that  there are strong historical links between civil wars and land temperatures in Sub Saharan Africa; in the warmer years there are more wars than in the cooler years.

We know that there is an established link between rainfall (or lack of it) and wars in Sub Saharan Africa. Drought causes famine which means that people compete for food, often using aggression to secure food. Sub Saharan Africa depends upon rainfall for food production and food production accounts for 50% of the gross domestic product and 90% of the employment.

No one knows enough to be able to accurately predict the effect of climate change on rainfall in Sub Saharan Africa. It seems commonsense that if the region is deprived of rainfall there will be more famine and more conflict.

However, we do know that the planet is getting warmer and the warmer parts of the world are heating up more quickly than the temperate climes. The researchers have studied the relationship between rising temperatures and the incidence of war and conclude that a one degree rise in average temperature in the region is associated with significant increases in civil war, which over the eleven years studied could mean a remarkable 49% increase in civil war linked to rising temperatures.

Projecting further temperature increases over the next few years leads to the conclusion that there is an increase chance of war in the region, with the increased likelihood being as high as 54%. The reason for this is that food production is not just linked to rainfall but also to temperatures. Crops grown in the region do not produce as much food when the temperatures are hotter than usual. Whether famine is caused by drought or rising temperatures, the hunger is the same and the motivation to seize the food of more fortunate people is just as strong.

Two hundred thousand people have lost their lives in the civil war in Sudan. Two millions have had to flee their homes. They do so because of war, caused by the lack of food. The lack of food is caused by lack of rainfall and rising temperatures and these events are almost certainly caused by manmade climate change.

It is a sobering thought that one of the results of the developed world’s greenhouse gas emissions is the loss of life and famine in the undeveloped world.

One Response

  1. What we see happening throughout the world is a chain of events taking place because of pollution, and not global warming, Austrailia has had some of the worst droughts on record yet today they are in some areas having more rain than they can cope with,

    Pollution travells around the world on the air currents which are their own controllers, as the pollution travels around the globe this controls the amount of water that it carries with it,

    The more pollution in a given area and the longer it will rain the signs are there just before a downfall, the darker the skies the more pollution is contained within those clouds and the greater potential for catastophe, you cannot have one without the other and those cheap products we all strive for created by globalisation is adding to the cause of the pollution.

    Migration because of war followed by drought have always happened if we take the massive droughts that eminated in the African countries of Ethiopia and take a look there today what do we see happening, the same as before,

    No investment in wells for water, a people being kept down due to their own neglect, education is what they need not hand outs.

    If we look upon wars because of migration, then pray tell me, how does that starving band of people in constant resolution with their leaders on the move fight an armed ememy, with its bundles of megre belongings and small children in bare feet, no I don’t agree with this scenario at all.

    All the money in the world will not help them, they are a people who are still predominantly living in the stone age who come and go with nature as our forefathers did when drought followed drought and up to 26% of the population died back along with nature, only to recover again the year after.

    We in the mechanised world will be the ones killing each other for the remaining pork pie when things get tough, they are the lucky ones in the evolution of time.

    If we take all the gasses known to man there are three we cannot do without, Nitrogen, Oxygen and Co2, namely air, non have ever killed a human being and aid growth of everything that’s green, Co2 makes up the largest entity which we take in on every breath, and exhail oxygen back out, 16% this is why mouth to mouth is possible and the said patient is able to get enough oxygen to recover.

    There are so many one sided senarios being thrown around that we all miss the important ones, type in global cooling and see what you get IE

    Gory boy will have a lot to answer for if the tend continues.

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