Monday, November 12, 2007

Global Warming Leads to Political Instability and Violent Conflict

“A Climate of Conflict: The Links Between Climate Change, Peace and War,” reports global warming will strike third world nations far more than the rest of the world by fueling violent conflict and political instability, as if there are not enough destructive forces at work plaguing these countries, plunging them further into poverty.

"There is a real risk that climate change will compound the propensity for violent conflict, which in turn will leave communities poorer, less resilient and less able to cope with the consequences of climate change... it is too late to believe the situation can be made safe solely by reducing carbon emissions worldwide and mitigating climate change.”-- Dan Smith and Janani Vivekananda.

However, the authors of this report do offer suggestions that would help to alleviate some of the impact climate change would have on these areas by helping communities develop coping strategies that will go a long way to prevent the escalation of the intensity of conflict already present.

The report finds that 3.9 billion people are at high risk of violent conflict or
political instability as a consequence of climate change and shows that:

• Climate change consequences will make the poorest communities across the
world more vulnerable to conflict and put pressure on already stretched
governments to provide basic needs for their most vulnerable citizens.

• In states most at risk of climate change related violent conflict, it is already
too late to focus on mitigation. The priority must be to help these countries to
adapt.

• Measures intended to stem climate change through reducing harmful
emissions, such as carbon trading, can actually increase social tensions in
fragile states and thus increase the risk of violence.

• Peacebuilding, through promoting strong and stable governance and
institutions, will enhance communities’ resilience and ability to adapt to
climate change.

• Strengthening capacity to deal with climate change through peacebuilding will
create a win-win situation in fragile states. It will actually strengthen their
ability to reduce harmful emissions in the future and is, therefore, an effective
means of long-term mitigation.

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