How climate change can fuel wars

The article excerpted below is very shifty.  It includes crop losses from COOLING as due to global warming, for instance.  But its main focus is on disruptions caused by drought.  But drought is NOT going to be made worse by Warming. Warming will warm the seas and warmer seas give off more water vapor, which comes down as rain. 

Drought is more likely an effect of cooling and they admit that a cooler climate some decades back originated the Sahelian drought.  The Sahel in fact has been recovering in recent decades -- as it should due to the greatly increased CO2 in the air.  High levels of CO2 enable plants to require less water. Look up "stomata" if you don't believe it. 

In summary the actual facts about climate that they produce lead us to the conclusion that the travails in the region are NOT caused by global warming

Fifty years ago the Dar es Salaam camp would have been under several metres of water. In the 1960s Lake Chad was the sixth-largest freshwater lake in the world, an oasis and commercial hub in the arid Sahel. Water and fertile lands were shared by farmers, herders and fisherfolk alike.

The vast lake has shrunk from 25,000 square km to half that area today. In the camp, which the UNHCR (the UN’s refugee agency) helps run, over 12,000 men, women and children huddle in any shade they can find from heat that often reaches 45°C. The camp has no guard towers or walls. Boko Haram fighters are only a few miles away. A tangle of torn tarpaulins and human debris is scattered across the desert. For miles around, baked white sand is dotted with sparse, scraggy trees bristling with inch-long thorns. The sole signs of life are camels pecking at the dry vegetation.

As Mr Ibrahim remembers when the lake stretched over the horizon. “Before the lake began to shrink everything was going normally,” he says. “And now, nothing. We cannot get food to eat.” As the lake receded, people moved towards it, plagued by swarms of tsetse flies. Herdspeople, farmers and fisherfolk competed for access to the shrunken supply of water. Mr Ibrahim had to walk farther and farther to get to the fishing grounds.

Green campaigners and eager headline-writers sometimes oversimplify the link between global warming and war. It is never the sole cause. But several studies suggest that, by increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including floods and droughts, it makes conflict likelier than it would otherwise be. In a meta-analysis carried out in the early 2010s, Solomon Hsiang, then at Princeton University, and Marshall Burke, then at the University of California, Berkeley, found “strong support” for a causal link between climate change and conflict (encompassing everything from interpersonal to large-scale violence). They even tried to quantify the relationship, claiming that each rise in temperature or extreme rainfall by one standard variation increased the frequency of interpersonal violence by 4% and intergroup conflict by 14%.

History offers several examples of climate change appearing to foment mayhem. An examination of Chinese records spanning a millennium found that the vast majority of violent eras were preceded by bouts of COOLER weather. The team behind the study argues that lower temperatures reduced agricultural production, provoking fights over land and food.

Consider Syria. Between 2012 and 2015 three academic papers argued that climate change had been a catalyst or even a primary driver of the civil war. Headlines blamed it for the waves of refugees reaching Europe. The argument was that human emissions had caused or exacerbated a severe drought in Syria in the late 2000s that triggered mass migration from farmland into cities, contributing to tensions which ultimately led to war.

The headlines were too simplistic, as headlines often are. Climate modelling led by Colin Kelley, then at the University of California in Santa Barbara, estimated that greenhouse-gas emissions made the drought twice as likely. That is significant, but need not mean that in the absence of climate change, there would have been no drought and no war. Syrians had many reasons to revolt against their ruler, Bashar al-Assad, a despot from a religious minority who enforced his rule with mass torture.

The conflict around Lake Chad is also a tangled tale. Its roots can be traced back to a deadly drought in the 1970s and 1980s. Many have blamed that drought on industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. But climate models suggest they did not in fact play a big role in the drought. The recurrent failure of monsoon rains was caused by COOLER temperatures in the north Atlantic, which pushed the rains too far south. The cooling was itself caused by a mixture of natural and human factors, notably air pollution above the ocean—a striking reminder that greenhouse-gas emissions are not the only way in which human activity may alter the climate.

A report published this month by Adelphi, a Berlin-based think-tank, shows that *Lake Chad is no longer shrinking*. Its authors examined 20 years of satellite data and found that the southern pool was stable for the duration. The northern pool is still shrinking slightly, but total water storage in the area is increasing, as 80% of the water is held in a subterranean aquifer, which is being replenished, as is moisture in the soil, as the rains have returned.

Despite all these caveats, climate change clearly can play a part in fostering conflict. The Sahel is warming 1.5 times faster than the global average, owing to greenhouse-gas emissions. In future, most models suggest, it will experience more extreme and less predictable rains over shorter seasons. In a region where most people still grow or rear their own food, that could make millions desperate and restless.

Climate models predict that, as global average temperatures rise, dry regions will get drier and wet regions will get wetter, with more extremes and greater variability. Poverty makes it harder for farmers to adapt. Trying something new is always risky—and potentially catastrophic for those with no savings to fall back on. In conflict zones, farmers who once had the means to plant several different crops may only be able to plant one. They end up with all their seeds in one basket. On the shores of Lake Chad, violent clashes between government forces and armed opposition groups have created zones that are off-limits to civilians, says Chitra Nagarajan, a researcher for the Adelphi report, who spent two years conducting surveys in all four littoral countries.

Conflict itself makes the poor even poorer, and more vulnerable to the vagaries of a changing climate. Fearing murder, pastoralists cannot take their herds to places with water and vegetation. The UNHCR’s Mr Cond√© says that fishermen can no longer go into the deep lake to fish. Government troops block them, and Boko Haram is still on the prowl. Fighters steal farmers’ crops. All the farmers can harvest is wood, which they sell as fuel. In a bitter twist, doing so accelerates desertification, further degrading the land.


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