| 'Climate change will trigger food wars caused by both floods and drought'
| Tuesday, December 11, 2007
|The effects of climate change such as droughts and food scarcity could trigger conflict and wars around the world, a report warned today.
The report by Swiss and German academics said without action to combat global warming, problems including extreme weather events and growing numbers of "climate refugees" could be too much for some countries to cope with.
Released on the day Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) received the Nobel Peace Prize for their environmental work, the report warned countries such as India, Pakistan and China and areas such as southern Africa and the Amazon could all be at risk.
Many countries which are already facing conflict or tensions will be put under more pressure as fresh water becomes scarcer, food production declines, storms and floods increase and more people are forced to migrate to survive.
Even southern Europe might see potentially violent conflicts, even though the countries there could cope with environmental changes, if droughts and heat waves push migrants from North Africa, the study warned.
The Climate Change as a Security Risk report by the German Advisory Council on Global Change called on governments meeting this week at the climate change conference in Bali to adopt deep emissions cuts to avert disaster.
Professor Hans Schellnhuber, leader author of the report and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: "Without resolute counteraction, climate change will overstretch many societies' adaptive capacities within coming decades.
"This could result in destabilisation and violence jeopardising national and international security to a new degree."
According to the report countries in northern Africa such as Sudan, Somalia and Chad are already suffering wars and scarce resources.
Despite widespread peace, southern African cities such as Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Maputo, Mozambique, are threatened by sea level rise.
Across the continent there are the twin threats of declining harvests and population growth.
Also, southern Europe could be at risk from instability and scarce resources in North Africa, the scientists claim, pushing migrants into the EU which "could trigger potentially violent conflicts".
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh could see falls in wheat and rice yields as the monsoon changes, as well as dry seasons becoming drier in the wake of melting glaciers and rising sea levels putting pressure on densely populated areas.
And the western coast of China could be inundated by sea level rises, while soil degradation and drought could be a feature in the north of the country.
In the Caribbean there is an increasing risk of hurricane and tropical cyclone activity, which can also induce floods in coastal communities.
Grain yields would be under threat and conflicts could be aggravated by pressures caused by climate change.
Tensions in South America could be exacerbated by the melting of Andean glaciers - leading to water shortages, threats to agriculture and desertification.
In the Amazon, where as much as 65 per cent of the rainforest could disappear, warmer temperatures could threaten maize and wheat yields, damage inland fisheries and undermine Brazil's ability to handle crises at home or in neighbouring countries.
|posted by Moderator Londen time 5:56 PM