Sunday, October 18, 2009

Climate Change and Wars

Remember that time the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize gang awarded an American politician because his politics were right? No, not two weeks ago. And no, not Jimmy Carter. The 2007 prize, Al Gore and the UN Climate Change Panel.

Well, somebody did some fact checking:
THE starkest views of climate change paint war as a looming threat. The
idea that violence will erupt as drought and rising sea levels displace people
from their homes is, in part, why the Nobel prize for peace was awarded in 2007
to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore. Yet a newly
published study analysing the historical connection between war and climate
throws into question the assumption that rising temperatures and violence go
hand in hand.
Rather, the researchers tell, if the technology to deal with change is there, the change need not be threatening:
The lesson, rather, is that the way to minimise the likelihood of
climate-induced conflict in the future is to continue the process of crop
improvement (for example, by taking advantage of the potential of genetic
engineering) so that heat- and drought-tolerant varieties are available; to make
farmers aware of these new crops and encourage their use; and to promote free
trade and non-agricultural economic development.
Though, truth be told, at the very end of the article there's still this bit of wishful thinking:
That way people will have no cause to fight, and tyrants no excuse to stir them

Touching isn't it. The assumption that people fight only for rational reasons. Here, see if you can apply it on this list.

1 comment:

Bryan Z said...

"Researchers" are focusing on food, but the most important aspect of climate change is its effects on water. Sea level rises will taint coastal aquifers, and inland droughts will depreciate inland water supplies (which will, of course, be needed to supply the contaminated coastal populations). Coupled with increasing population, our water supplies will be strained to the breaking point.

Whoever comes up with an efficient, cheap, and clean way to desalinate water will be a very rich man or woman, indeed. And if no one can do so, then we are indeed destined for increased conflict over water.