Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bloody Blog Action Day 2009

I did an Ecowar post for Blog Action Day 2008 on poverty but for the 2009 topic on climate change I ended up with a rant on the Danish (COP15 host) government: Something is rotten in the state of COP15 at TH!NK ABOUT IT. Perhaps I "should" have summed up the previous Ecowar and climate change stuff and cross posted. In stead I have scavenged the thousands of "BAD09" posts for something bloody.

The Ugly

First check out AgWired / Climate Change is BAD Topic - an agriculture news site proposed a boycott of BAD09 because of what they say is misinformation, quoting this:
Agricultural production around the world is responsible for nearly as much greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transportation put together, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the food choices we make have a big impact on the climate

Misinformation? I don't know exactly about the transportation, but from my own recent Food and climate change - save or doom the world while eating:
Current trends in food choices point toward increased environmental effects [...] agriculture is the main source of the increase in atmospheric methane (~50%) and nitrous oxide (~60%)

The Bad

The boycott did not seem to be very effective anyway. In fact, a blog called "Farming First" eagerly posted Research Linking Climate-induced Conflict and Farming, basically a couple of selective quotes from The Economist / Climate change and warfare: Cool heads or heated conflicts?. Very interesting indeed.
a newly published study analysing the historical connection between war and climate throws into question the assumption that rising temperatures and violence go hand in hand [...] in the more remote past the effects of cold weather on harvests led to supply shortages, and that these increased the likelihood of people fighting over food and the land needed to produce it [...] the reason the relationship between warfare and cold vanishes in the mid-18th century is that this is the moment when the industrial revolution began.

So far, so good. Reminds me of the good old Zhang paper on historical Chinese data (see Climate change and conflict frequency). Their conclusion:
The lesson, rather, is that the way to minimise the likelihood of climate-induced conflict in the future is to continue the process of crop improvement (for example, by taking advantage of the potential of genetic engineering) so that heat- and drought-tolerant varieties are available; to make farmers aware of these new crops and encourage their use; and to promote free trade and non-agricultural economic development.

I'm sorry but that's a bit naive for me. Although not the type to entirely write off GMOs as part of the solution a couple of questions immediately comes to mind that The Economist fail to address. Such as: given the history of GMOs so far - mainly developed for high tech intensive farming - how do they see it improve to reach the 3rd world where the problems are? If industrialization caused climate change how exactly should more of it solve another problem caused by climate change in turn? Etc. Perhaps The Economist should read this BAD09 conrtibution: Food, famine and climate change – India’s scorched earth (about our various good ideas for India's agriculture).

The Good

BAD09 was hosted by Change.org (which also angered AgWired above, go figure). At least two of their regular blogs addressed conflict on BAD09: Humanitarian Relief / How Climate Change Causes Conflict and Stop Genocide / Conflict in the Age of Climate Change. They got a video an lots of links, check them out.

On for some real blogging: 100 Effects of Global Warming. Appears to be our "normal guy" copy/pasting a bit? Anyway...
People Are Dying
150,000: Number of people the World Health Organization estimates are killed by climate-change-related issues every year.
U.N.: As Dangerous As War
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this year that global warming poses as much of a threat to the world as war.
Genocide in Sudan
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon charges, “Amid the diverse social and political causes, the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change.

The Best

By far the best Blog Action Day contribution is Energy, climate change, and the indignant desert birds of willful self-destruction. Proof: It has an image of an army of marching penguins with machine guns. Oh, and it's also an original, analytical and well written article.
We cannot separate the energy crisis from the climate change crisis. In economic and environmental terms, both are two sides of the same coin. [...] global climate change is more than merely a technical or structural problem. It has deep historical and cultural roots and a system of unspoken values instilled from the beginning of civilization and passed from generation to generation.

Excellent but apart from mentioning the "wars for oil" this is what we get on conflict:
Vulnerable regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the island nations of the Pacific will face food and water shortages, catastrophic flooding, unprecedented refugee crises, religious conflict, and the spread of contagious diseases. These will demand massive humanitarian aid efforts and/or a military response

Of course I linked to that story here at Ecowar already in August ;-)

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