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Climate change can cause wars

The conflict in Darfur caused by the drought in Sudan that caused Arabs with herds to occupy African villages is only the first swallow in the conflicts that will be caused by global warming, states an expert on arms control and international security from the USA

Jurgen Shafran - expert on international security
Jurgen Shafran - international security expert

The hurricane season has begun in the US and East Asia, which has sparked a new debate about the possible connection between global warming and the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, heat waves and other extreme weather events. In the meantime, international security experts also joined the discussion who believe that damage caused by global warming to ecosystems all over the world and as a result increased competition for natural resources could be used as a trigger for wars and other conflicts in the future.

Jürgen Shaffern, a researcher in the Program on Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security and at the Center for Bioenergy at the University of Illinois, is among those raising the concerns. In a research review recently published in the Journal of Atomic Scientists, Shafern concluded by saying that "the impact of climate change on humans and global security may expand far beyond the limited range we have seen so far.

Schaffron's review includes a critical analysis of four trends identified in a report published by the German Advisory Council on Climate Change, which may shock populations and governments: the depletion of clean water resources, food insecurity, natural disasters and migration as a result of environmental phenomena.

He also cited last year's report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which indicated that climate change could affect species and ecosystems all over the world from rainforests to coral reefs. In his analysis, Shafran commented that the number of areas in the world vulnerable to drought is expected to increase. The supply of water stored in glaciers and snow cover on mountain ranges such as the Andes and the Himalayas is also expected to decrease. He said and added that "the most essential things for human survival are water and food, and these are particularly sensitive to climate conditions."

The erosion of these resources, combined with threats to the population caused by natural disasters, diseases and the collapse of economies and ecosystems, he said, could fall at once like a waterfall. "The climate changes caused by global warming will not only affect people's living conditions but will create social effects through a threat to society's infrastructure or through social reactions that will exacerbate the problem," he wrote. "Socio-economic and political tension may undermine the functioning of communities, the efficiency of institutions and the stability of social structures. These reduced conditions may cause civil conflicts, and even worse - armed conflicts."

"Large areas in Africa suffer from a lack of food and clean water, making them more vulnerable to conflicts. An example of this is the Darfur region in Sudan, where an ongoing conflict has intensified because the drought has caused Arab herdsmen to move to an area where African farmers live." Other regions of the world, including the Middle East, Central Asia and South America, will also be affected by the changes.

Shafran suggests adopting a multiple strategy to thwart events that would otherwise develop into crises. Among other things, he suggests that governments take steps to prepare for climate change as part of national policy. Beyond that, he suggests taking a common international approach to assuage concerns. "Although climate change carries with it the danger of conflicts, it can also lead to the establishment of an international system that will increase cooperation if everyone sees a common threat that requires joint action." said.

As an example of such cooperation, he cites the climate conference held in Bali in 2007 with the participation of over 10,000 representatives from all over the world to formulate a climate plan. "Bali's road map contained many good ideas, but it was criticized for being too inclusive and did not include major policy changes," Schaffman said. "However, it seems that the conflict between the supporters of the environment and the supporters of the economy actually calmed down thanks to the recognition of the need to protect the climate for the benefit of the economy."

In addition to international cooperation, Shaffern believes that the inhabitants of the planet today can learn a lot about the future by studying the past. "History has shown us how our cultures depend on a narrow window of climatic conditions of temperature and precipitation." said. The great human civilizations began to flourish after the last ice age and some disappeared during periods of drought and other climatic changes. The period known as the 'Little Ice Age' in the Northern Hemisphere several hundred years ago was caused by an average drop in temperatures of less than one degree Celsius."

"The consequences were extreme in parts of Europe and were accompanied by a decrease in crops and a shrinking of the population," said Shafran. "Military riots and conflicts have become common, as is also evident from the empirical research on these issues." However, as history has shown, humans are able to adapt to climate changes as long as these changes are moderate. "The challenge now is to slow down the dynamics and stabilize the climate system at levels that do not pose a danger," Shafern concluded.

Note: 24/12/2021

In retrospect it quickly became clear that he was right. In the sequel to Al Gore's "A Disturbing Truth" from 2017, he attributes the civil war in Syria that broke out in 2011, as part of the "Arab Spring" events, to global warming (which today is called the climate crisis). And it resulted from a move from the villages to the cities after several years of consecutive drought.

to the researcher's notice

More of the topic in Hayadan:

6 תגובות

  1. There are several problems with the theory.

    The reasons for wars in the past were reasons for food and pastures and living as well as religious reasons. Despite this, if we examine the known we see that:

    1. The deadliest wars happened in the cold and temperate European continent (both World War I and World War II, as well as all major wars in the last 2000 years).
    2. In Africa, the great wars, which claimed the lives of millions of people, began in the last fifty years, when countries and tribes gained independence.
    3. There were wars in the Americas in the pre-Columbian period and it was the Spanish who landed the final blow on these cultures and not the climate.
    4. Genghis Khan's troops swept through Asia with a variable climate (from cold winter to tropical climate) without any noticeable effect of changing seasons.
    5. The Middle East has been burning for 5000 years without any noticeable effect of climate change on the state of warfare.

    In short - it seems to me that although the theory is interesting as a theory, it is only a certain part of the overall picture. The question is what part does it constitute and is this part negligible...

    Hanan Sabat

  2. Moti:
    I don't understand what you are trying to say.
    After all, no one said that there would be peace as a result of cooling or preventing warming.
    It was only claimed, and in my opinion rightly, that the lack of water would be another reason for war.
    Of course there are ways to deal with this shortage, but it's a little difficult for me to see the African countries jumping into water desalination in the blink of an eye or being able to pay for the water to the water barons you predict.
    I also have no doubt that if the Arab countries decide to divert the sources of the Jordan, war will break out before desalination breaks out

  3. And as a result of cold there will be peace?…
    There are and always will be wars, there is no doubt that water will be a precious commodity until alternatives are developed such as creating water from the air (the reverse process of electrolysis?!) or treating sea water in larger quantities than today, and that is where I see the water problem going. However, it is likely that there will be international disputes and tensions with regard to fresh water as the crisis worsens - humanity is pressed to move to the next stage: the production of natural resources, and we can also expect oil powers alongside water powers
    And due to Israel's progress on the issue, it seems that the Gentile will again ask the Jew to drink water (as was the case with bloodshed).

  4. rummy:
    This is an important aspect.
    Hungry people will do a lot to survive.
    If you remember what happened with the sources of the Jordan throughout the years of the existence of the State of Israel, you will understand that we also have something to worry about.

  5. Wow, I've never read about a climate perspective on the Darfur conflict. There's probably some sense in that though, it's just one of the reasons for this unnecessary conflict and not the main one.

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