Wednesday, September 02, 2009

John Kerry: Climate change to cause conflict; how come deniers can stay in politics?

In a late evening soon to end brief spell of energetic RSS-feed checking ending a day of trying to sleep away a flu attack I find We Can't Ignore the Security Threat from Climate Change by John Kerry, US Senator, is a kind of follow-up and sum-up to the articles I posted Sunday, August 02, 2009: US Senators, military join chorus: Climate change is a security threat that leaves little to be misunderstood.

Make no mistake: catastrophic climate change represents a threat to human security, global stability, and -- yes -- even to American national security.

Climate change injects a major new source of chaos, tension, and human insecurity into an already volatile world. It threatens to bring more famine and drought, worse pandemics, more natural disasters, more resource scarcity, and human displacement on a staggering scale. We risk fanning the flames of failed-statism, and offering glaring opportunities to the worst actors in our international system. In an interconnected world, that endangers all of us.

[...]

We don't know with certainty whether climate change pushed Darfur over the edge, but we do know that it will cause more tension just like we've seen in Darfur.

Once you accept the science, it's clear that such massive environmental change will create dislocation, destruction, chaos, and conflict.

[...]

Nowhere is the connection between climate and security more direct than in South Asia -- home to al Qaeda. Scientists now warn that the Himalayan glaciers which supply fresh water to a billion people in the region could disappear completely by 2035. Think about what this means: Water from the Himalayans flows through India and Pakistan. India's rivers are not only vital to its agriculture but are also critical to its religious practice. Pakistan, for its part, is heavily dependent on irrigated farming to avoid famine.

At a moment when the U.S. government is scrambling to ratchet down tensions and preparing to invest billions of dollars to strengthen Pakistan's capacity to deliver for its people -- climate change could work so powerfully in the opposite direction.


Notice that I am adding the bold formatting to selected text. I chose what to quote here. This is not because I think those issues are the most important and pressing issues in the world. But they certainly are important and not least extremely underexposed by media. Plus it's simply the topic of this particular blog to highlight conflict-nature links. But I don't wish to put any judgement on what is more catastrophic: never ending civil war, mass extinctions, cataclysmic floodings or what ever else we'll see. Anyway, here's Kerrys best or most unique observation:

Unfortunately, not everyone in Washington appreciates the stakes. It's tragic that we live at a time when if one were to dismiss the threat of terrorism, you'd be sent home in the next election. But there are no similar political consequences if you dismiss the science or the threat of climate change.


Indeed, Kerry. We seem to have a major political dichotomy at our hands here.

Do yourself a favour and read the whole thing at Huffington Post.

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