Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Water wars!... or climate peace?

Two climate change stories: one driving African tribes into new conflict and another leading old foes on a shared diplomatic course.

The conflict

For thousands of years, nomadic herdsmen have roamed the harsh, semi-arid lowlands that stretch across 80 percent of Kenya and 60 percent of Ethiopia. [...] As temperatures in the region have risen and water supplies have dwindled, the pastoralists have had to range more widely in search of suitable water and land. That search has brought tribal groups in Ethiopia and Kenya in increasing conflict, as pastoral communities kill each other over water and grass.
Watch the video at / When The Water Ends: Africa’s Climate Conflicts.

The diplomacy

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are among 15 Mediterranean nations who have just signed a historic agreement to work together to combat the effects of climate change, one month ahead of the next United Nations conference on climate change, meeting at Cancun in November. [...] Both Israel and Palestine are acutely aware of their vulnerability to climate change, which is expected to make water resources even more scarce for what is already the most water-stressed highly populated area in the world. The region faces a potential 4 degree rise in average temperatures and a 70% drop in precipitation. Sea level rise is expected to further contaminate nearby aquifers such as the coastal aquifer of Gaza that provides water to 1.5 million Palestinians. The annual decrease in rainfall is already raising farm prices for fruits and vegetables, and creating a two-tiered class system for water: those who can afford to pay, and those who can’t.

Check out the Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative website (via Green Prophet).

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