Sep 16, 2015 by


MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaresourcewarWill global warming lead to worldwide resource wars? (Photo: Environmental Illness Network)

It would be a simplification to assert that the mass movement of refugees to Europe is currently primarily caused by global warming. As we’ve noted previously, wars of empire and economic deprivation have been the leading factors behind the recent surge of people struggling to reach the relative safety and economic stability of European Union nations.

However, a September 9 article in the Guardian reports on the warning issued by the former head of Britain’s Liberal Democrats, Lord Paddy Ashdown, that “the world will undergo more resource wars and huge movements of desperate people unless it tackles climate change effectively.”

Ashdown’s warning is based on both logical and scientific premises. If global warming damages or destroys the yield of large areas of agricultural production, for example, there will be likely be wars fought over an increasing limited availability of food. In addition, deadly conflicts would also result from a decreasing supply of fresh water.

Indeed, the US Defense Department appears to agree with Ashdown, according to a report it issued in 2014, as reported in Responding to Climate Change:

US military chiefs have warned climate change is becoming an increasing risk to global security, providing further pause for thought among the Washington political establishment sharply divided on how to tackle global warming.

In a report published every four years that outlines future threats to the US military’s interests and potential global flashpoints, the Pentagon said climate change is a “threat multiplier” and would be a major area of future defense strategy.

“The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world,” said the report, which was published earlier this week.

Such wars would be over the very basic issue of who shall live and who shall die – based on who secures access to supplies of food and drinkable water. These conflicts could, in theory, lead to military attacks that are aimed at annihilating whole populations who are competing for the most basic necessities of sustaining life.

Lord Ashdown believes that a “vast humanitarian disaster … will soon unfold,” according to the Guardian:

“I raised it to make the problem more obvious,” [Ashdown explained,] “though I do not know why politicians continue to be so blind to it.”

He said evidence of the impacts of climate change was plain to see: “You need only to fly over some of the areas that are being affected – like the Naga Hills on the border of India and Burma, or vast areas of the Ganges delta – to see clearly what’s happening.”

Tahmima Anam, a Bangladeshi writer and novelist, says that 50,000 people migrate every month to Dhaka, the capital city, because rising sea levels are making their villages uninhabitable and their arable land impossible to cultivate….

Ashdown said: “If governments do not act, then wars over land and resources… will become more common.”

The impact of global warming on agriculture is already showing, in the forms of prolonged droughts and heat waves, sea level rises that drown cultivatable land, and an increase in destructive weather catastrophes such as hurricanes.

Responding to Climate Change also took note of the Pentagon’s concern about the increase in wars over potable water:

Although the US military didn’t identify specific regions as making water wars more likely, previous studies have identified central and southern Asia could become increasingly unstable because of potential for water shortages in northern India and Pakistan and competition among former Soviet Republics.

Even in the US itself, tempers flared last year between states on who should have access to water supplies amid high summer temperatures and a sustained drought, a reminder that even in rich countries access to world’s most basic commodities can become increasingly fraught.

The generally hostile European response – with some exceptions, such as Sweden – to the large number of recent refugees does not bode well, given that the one can foresee in the coming decades wars over food and water. In the US, the defamatory scapegoating of Mexicans for many of the nation’s current problems is also an ominous sign.

In the future, it is likely that food and water will become “national security” issues – and that “others” who seek refuge in the US in order to stay alive will be considered “competitors” for survival, and therefore disposable. Europe, it appears, would be likely to adopt the same destructive policies.

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