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The Alarm Bells Of Climate Change


In 2015, nearly every nation collectively recognized the threat of climate change. This was done by signing the Paris Agreement which seeks to combat greenhouse effects. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) stated that the document’s central aim is to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius.” In addition, the UNFCC provides countries with tools to deal with the consequences of drastic temperature fluctuations. All countries that participate in the Paris Agreement must implement a nationally determined contribution, which is the amount of carbon emissions that a state pledges to reduce. Despite America’s withdrawal from the deal in 2017, the existence of the Agreement signals that nations have realized the detrimental effects climate change has on the entire world. Especially given that global warming threatens countries’ security on both domestic and international levels. Locally, an ever-increasing number of extreme weather events take a massive toll on infrastructure and human lives, affecting domestic economies and livelihoods. Internationally, countries face resource competition particularly over shared rivers and water basins thus increasing the chances of a direct conflict. Multiple global warming consequences create a wide range of tasks for each nation such as maintaining citizens’ wellbeing and not clashing with other countries. This article will examine how failure to address domestic challenges has resulted in one of the bloodiest civil wars in the modern era, as well as international tensions that will likely deteriorate into an open conflict if not addressed soon.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) identifies the domestic challenges of climate changes livelihood insecurity, local resource competition, and volatility in food prices. These problems arose in 2011 when the Arab Spring happened in the Middle East. Most notably, Syria sank into a bloody civil war that has persisted since 2011 with over 350,000 casualties and millions displaced. Dr. Irwin Redlener in a Huffington Post article suggests that the Arab Spring was provoked “by a large-scale population movement due to drought and other climate-related condition.” He explains that prior to Syria’s Arab Spring, the country had experienced a drought between 2005 and 2010. Although droughts are naturally occurring phenomena in the region, it is well known that climate change amplified it. During this 5 year drought, the Syrian government was ill-equipped to deal with such circumstances and was unable to support rural citizens with resources to maintain their livelihoods. This caused migration to the country’s major cities. These large scale movements increased the strain on social and economic security. Government corruption, inequality, and lack of infrastructure further exasperated the strain. The failure to cope with the challenges of domestic climate change coupled with the extreme oppression lead to the eruption of the Syrian Civil War. Now, the conflict has developed largely into a proxy war involving Israel, the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Russia. The violence has led to a mass exodus of Syrians into Turkey and across the Mediterranean into Europe. Climate change acted as the proximate cause, and the inability to handle the impact has resulted in a chain of events that have disrupted peace in the region and torn Syria apart.

The WEF identified a significant future international problem to be a “transboundary water sharing,” which means that countries will have to use the same rivers and water basins. There are two notable examples in Central Eurasia that are directly linked to this issue. The first was identified by Peter Zeihan in his book, The Accidental Superpower where he portrays the mounting challenges Uzbekistan faces as its water sources begin to diminish due to the effects of global warming. Uzbekistan’s main sources of water are the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers which are becoming smaller in size year after year. Because of the increasing temperatures in the area, the glaciers that feed the Amu and Syr rivers are melting at a terminal pace. Historically, this region was regulated by the massive Aral Sea; however, in the 1960s hydrological projects were implemented diverting the Aral Sea’s main water sources for irrigation purposes. Choking off the Aral Sea has caused the rivers to lose nearly 75% of their sizes. Without the Aral Sea, precipitation has decreased resulting in the encroachment of deserts, further compounding the temperature rises. With a diminishing supply of water, Uzbekistan faces similar domestic challenges Syria faced during its droughts. However, Peter Zeihan suggests that Uzbekistan will look beyond its borders and try to control the headwaters of both the Amu and Syr rivers. Uzbekistan’s neighbors, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan currently control portions of the Amu and Syr rivers and are direct competitors of Uzbekistan. Zeihan believes that Uzbekistan will take aggressive action to secure resources for the nation. In a region surrounded by Turkey, Russia, and China any such act will likely draw the interest of major powers which could create a proxy war similar to that in Syria. The second example of transboundary water sharing is between Kazakhstan and China. China and Kazakhstan have a history of conflict over shared water resources, specifically over the Ili River basin. The Ili River flows from China into Kazakhstan which the Kazakhs use for irrigation and energy generation. However, the amount flowing across the border is unequal; China has 15.7 billion cubic meters while Kazakhstan has only 8.4 billion cubic meters. This creates a political challenge for both countries to determine how to fairly extract the water. Kazakhstan has adopted a Green Economy agenda which focuses on improving water management making the country less dependent on the water flowing from China. China has adopted a relatively cooperative stance seeing Kazakhstan as a strong economic partner that can benefit its economic initiatives. Unlike the predictions Zeihan has for Uzbekistan, China and Kazakhstan are keen to ease tensions through diplomacy. The question remaining is, will diplomacy be enough when the effects of climate change reduce the availability of water in the Ili River? As noted by the WEF, climate change will likely tilt the relationship from cooperative to tense, especially when China has economic and military leverage it can use to develop a favorable deal. These examples establish a connection between the direct effects of climate change such as increasing temperatures and the indirect impacts of rising tensions and political unrest. Climate change is not only making the world more inhospitable but may also deteriorate the peace and prosperity many nations have enjoyed for the last number of decades.

Climate change challenges will increase in frequency and severity as countries fail to prevent and mitigate the causes and effects. The Scientific American reported that global carbon dioxide emissions surged in 2016, even though the Paris Agreement was signed a year earlier. Global population growth and emerging new economies have increased the demand for energy resources which still largely consist of fossil fuels. As a result, the world is experiencing extreme weather events: abnormal temperatures, sea level rises, etc. With no real accountability, countries have not met their reduction targets and in many cases, the amount of emissions even increased. Nations have failed to take adequate measures to limit the causes of global warming. Where prevention of climate change fails so does the mitigation as a consequence of indifference. The current international approach to mitigating the effects of climate change is ill-structured and poorly equipped. The WEF states that the international policy stance is “set aside as somebody else’s problem” as global warming solutions, national developments, and peacebuilding tactics do not fully address the risks associated with extreme fluctuations in temperature. A drastic shift is required away from short term solutions towards long term peace.

Dr. Redlener quotes the Center for Naval Analysis in his article, “Climate change can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions in the world.” This means that the effects of climate change are likely going to take a more significant toll on developing, unstable and vulnerable countries. Developed countries in the European Union, the United States and Canada are unlikely to face the same problems that developing nations will as they are better equipped to deal with issues of global warming. As such, it is up to the progressive states to create methodologies to better prevent and mitigate climate change. The WEF strongly suggests that the G7 governments need to make solutions to climate-related risks central to their foreign policy strategies. Through an integrated approach, these countries can hold themselves and other nations accountable for reducing carbon emissions. Especially given that many of the effects of climate change are already significant and need to be immediately addressed by the G7 countries. As has been said these states will need to develop anti-global warming action plans: climate change risk assessment with transparent and shared results, improvement of food security, development of agreements that will settle transboundary water disputes, and recalibration of international development assistance to build local resilience. Countries like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan need to be provided with tools and support in their effort to prevent the outbreak of a conflict. If all these solutions are undertaken by strong leaders then the progression of climate change can be significantly limited. However, without effective leadership, conventional policy norms will fail to regulate global warming, thus increasing the risks of instability and conflict. The Syrian Civil War is a warning that indifference to climate change will threaten world peace and the lives of many.

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6 Comments on "The Alarm Bells Of Climate Change"

  1. Dredd on Sun, 10th Feb 2019 5:05 pm 

    Six fold acceleration of glacier disintegration is alarming too The Ghost Plumes – 8

  2. Free Speech Forum on Sun, 10th Feb 2019 10:34 pm 

    The USA is now an immoral bankrupt warmongering police state flooded with illegal immigrants.

    Americans either don’t know or want to know that the US is collapsing or think that nothing can be done to save the USA.

    There is also a group of people like Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Gandhi, MLK, Snowden, and Assange who see the problems of the world and cannot stay silent even when speaking up is risky.

    If you see the problems with the US and are having trouble sleeping at night, now is the time to say something.

    The collapse is real and is getting worse by the day. The problems will not go away. Even if we cannot save the USA, we must at least try to wake people up and prepare them so that they can be allies when the US Ponzi economy collapses, the civil war breaks out, and the elites start WWIII.

    What good would money do if you end up in a concentration camp?

    One way to raise awareness about the collapse is to make and pass out business cards with links to:

    You should also start a website today with links to pro-freedom sites like the Infowars, Lewrockwell, Blacklistednews, Zerohedge, Whatreallyhappened, Cato, Mises Institute, Judicial Watch, Institute for Justice, Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, ACLU, Libertarian Party, NRA, the Birch Society, militias, and John Stossel, Ron Paul, and John Whitehead articles to get the word out. Every freedom website will increase awareness and bring more people to our side.

    Most people know something is wrong, but they don’t know what and feel hopeless about what to do. The best weapon Americans have against the elites is our numbers.

    The 1% can use all of the power of the media, corporations, Hollywood, Wall Street, and the government to defeat the patriots, but we must try. You have to live with your conscience.

  3. Sissyfuss on Mon, 11th Feb 2019 9:07 am 

    FSF, you seem to think a return to patriarchy will solve our problems when it is the cause of many of them. We are in overshoot and the only remedy is undershoot, which will be beyond messy. Peak quality oil is upon us, never to leave. And we continue to spit out useless eaters because it is our genetic imperative. We waste our time debating solutions to a predicament. Hunker down for Winter is always coming.

  4. Dredd on Mon, 11th Feb 2019 11:48 am 

    “Biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide. Here, we present a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, and systematically assess the underlying drivers. Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades.” (Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers)

  5. Theedrich on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 7:23 pm 

    The anti-Trumpists are trying to provoke WW III.  International relations with Russia have been growing increasingly precarious since at least 2002, when Bush withdrew from the ABM treaty.  The Democrats and their protégé, Mueller, along with a corrupt FBI, are worsening things even more as they try to unseat the president with accusations of “collusion” with Russia.  Trump, in self-defense, has been attempting to show how antagonistic he is to the Kremlin by all sorts of anti-Russian tactics, including by hiring close advisors inimical to the eastern Slavic nation.  Few politicians seem to have any idea that both the Administration and Congress are playing with thermonuclear fire.

    In the February 7, 2019 edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, physicist Theodore A. Postol wrote:  “As they recount allegations about Russian violation of the INF, many major mainstream media outlets have routinely misreported basic facts on the land-based Aegis systems in Eastern Europe and related issues.
    “The actual facts of the matter support the Russian position.  This reality must be taken into account, if the United States and Russia (and possibly other countries) are to come to agreement on continued control of intermediate-range missiles.”

    An upgraded Tomahawk with a nuclear warhead, if based at US Aegis sites in Eastern Europe, could be used to implement a near-zero warning nuclear strike on multiple Russian targets.  This capability is what the Russian government fears.  And rightly so, because the capability is far from theoretical.  It is a capability the Aegis system was designed to accommodate.

    The political situation between the United States and Russia is dangerous — perhaps more dangerous than it has ever been — and there are certainly reasons for the West to be concerned about Russian behavior, including its possible violation of the INF Treaty.  But the United States has a long, bipartisan history of making senseless political decisions to deploy ineffective missile defenses, and then justifying those decisions with disinformation, even when technical and military analysts can readily unmask it.

    The routine US reliance on misleading claims about missile defense systems — claims too often parroted by the Western press — contributes to an environment in which foreign powers, both friend and foe, rightly do not trust the word of US political and military leaders

    And from the Russian Tass news agency, February 2. /TASS/. The United States started preparations to production of missiles of intermediate and shorter range banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) two years [in June 2017, at the Raytheon plant in Tucson, AZ] before it accused Russia of violating the agreement, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Saturday. … Consequently, the nature and time of the works demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the US administration decided to withdraw from the INF Treaty several years before unfounded accusations against Russia of violating the Treaty were made public.

    Our political system has become psychotic to the point of global omnicide.  And with the unceasing, ubiquitous innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and electronics generally, the possibility of malevolent or accidental ignition of a thermonuclear Ragnarök grow by the day.  There is a new mentality spreading among the militaries of the U.S., Russia and China:  that nuclear weapons of “appropriate” size and power can defeat an adversary.  This is not insane;  it is Satanic.  The Democrat use of Russophobia to attack Trump is dangerous in the extreme.

  6. Sissyfuss on Wed, 13th Feb 2019 9:51 am 

    Crowded rat syndrome at work, Theedpoor. RATional thought replaces rational thought. Everyone’s jonesing for a tussel, not thinking far enough ahead to ponder the joy of a nuclear winter. Humans are being asked to change at a pace that is impossible to achieve. We’re back to the days when two leaders are sitting in a tank of gasoline, one has 10 matches, the other 12 and they are arguing about who is in the winning position. If everyone is wrong then everyone could be right in the days of more is less.

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