Saturday, March 24, 2012

Water Wars Warning, Part Deux

Yesterday it was US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning that many parts of our world are on the brink of instability and warfare triggered by global warming and the world freshwater crisis.

Now it's Britain's secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey, sounding the warning.

"Countries have not tended to go to war over water, but I have a fear for the world that climate instability drives political instability," he said. "The pressure of that makes conflict more likely."

Even a small temperature rise – far less than the 4C that scientists predict will result from a continuation of business as usual – could lead to lower agricultural yields, he warned, at a time when population growth means that demand for food was likely to be up by 70% by 2060. By the same time, he noted, the number of people living in conditions of serious water stress would have reached 1.8 billion, according to estimates.

"Climate change intensifies pressures on states, and between states," he told the conference, gathered to discuss whether climate change and natural resources should be regarded as a national security issue. "[Its effects] can lead to internal unrest … and exacerbate existing tensions. We have to plan for a world where climate change makes difficult problems even worse."

Of course the Canadian government and a great many of our citizens remain conveniently oblivious to this.   Their attitude is what happens to those people is unfortunate but it's their problem and we have nothing to do with it.  In a pig's eye we don't.  Our carbon fingerprints are all over it.

While the impacts of our profligate carbon emissions are relatively minimal here, they're massive elsewhere.   And, if the impacts of our massive carbon emissions could somehow be redirected back to us alone, we'd be absolutely racing to decarbonize our societies and our economies.  It's only because we can export most of these impacts, spread them around to distant parts of the world, that we can act with smug indifference.   And that makes Stephen Harper truly Canada's Prime Monster.

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