A few years ago the Pentagon-sponsored report, Abrupt Climate Change Scenario warned of the need to strengthen US defenses against "unwanted starving immigrants" from the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. In January 2007, the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root won a contract from the US government to augment existing immigration detention and removal facilities "in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the US."
Some worry that climate change issue is being looked at the wrong way. Rather than looking for solutions to help mitigate climate change backlashes around the world, developed nations are only looking out for their own short-term interests. Some fear this mindset could be used as an excuse for the US military to justify more overseas interventions, especially in Africa. American defense officials are currently citing the threat of climate-induced disorder and to legitimize the establishment of AFRICOM, the Bush administration's controversial new regional military command for Africa. The CNA defense think tank's influential 2007 report "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change" focuses on how resource scarcity, environmental degradation and climate change are likely to trigger violent conflict in Africa.
The nations predicted to be most affected by climate change are those with the least capacity to adapt or cope. This is especially true in Africa, which is becoming an increasingly important source of US oil and gas imports. Already suffering tension and stress resulting from weak governance and thin margins of survival due to food and water shortages, Africa would be yet further challenged by climate change. The proposal by the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a new Africa Command reflects Africa's emerging strategic importance to the US, and with humanitarian catastrophes already occurring, a worsening of conditions could prompt further US military engagement.
By the year 2100, global warming likely will cause the extinction of numerous species by eliminating the climate zones in which they are able to live, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy Of Sciences earlier this year. But not only will animals be forced to move or die, people will be faced with this same dilemma as well.
With the planet heating up, and global warming predicted to redefine world climates, and some places will be harder hit than others. A new study shows that as climate change intensifies droughts, storms and floods, this will undoubtedly lead to environmental migrations and potential conflicts in the areas migrated to.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the US, large populations were forced to find refuge elsewhere. Rafael Reuveny from Indiana University says these types of displacing natural phenomenon will only grow. His new study takes a look at the role environmental degradation on population migration, or ‘ecomigration’ will play in the future. The study in the journal Human Ecology examines the potential impact on areas receiving migrants and the resulting violent conflict that could follow.
The study underlies the fact that people facing environmental disasters are usually forced to leave the affected areas to avoid death. However understandable this might be, the larger the migration and the shorter the period over which it occurs, the harder it is for surrounding populations to absorb the migrants. Reuveny says this will dramatically raise the likelihood of conflict. For example ecomigrants may clash over jobs with locals, as well as over resources and culture. Violent interactions such as theft, seizure of resources and property, murders and insurgencies are likely to rise, he predicts.
Reuveny asserts that in order to minimize the impact of these future environmental migrations, developed countries should already be involved in creating preventive strategies both at home and in developing countries to mitigate these likelihoods. The time to come up with game plans is now, he argues, because climate change is expected to degrade the environment considerably during this century.
Reuveny’s analysis of three case studies – the US Dust Bowl in the 1930s; Bangladesh since the 1950s; and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, shows that although climate change can spur large population movements, public policy does have the power to alleviate the pressures of ecomigration. If a country can invest in areas affected by environmental problems, the scope of ecomigration can be reduced and transitions will be smoother, he argues.
According to Reuveny, “minimizing climate change-induced migration and violent conflict in receiving areas requires an engineered economic slowdown in the developed countries, and population stabilization and economic growth in developing countries financed by the developed countries.”
Scientists have largely concluded that by 2100, climate zones will have likely changed across 12 to 39 percent of the Earth's land surface, based on a model that presumes a continuation of current patterns of fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. Climate change will affect world migration trends and inevitably cause some amount of conflict, but exactly to what extent remains to be seen. However, wars would only add to the world’s collective suffering. Rather than looking at ways to protect our own assets, we would all be better off to look for more holistic approaches to mitigating these issues from a global perspective.
Posted by Rebecca Sat
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http://www.springer-sbm.com/index.php?id=291&backPID=132&L=0&tx_tnc_news=3883&cHash=5a8ab7ee60 http://nationalacademies.org http://www.newstarget.com/022013.html
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