Global Warming: the first genocide of the 21st century
No one wants to accept responsibility for the first genocide of the 21st century: the tragedy that is occurring in Darfur, in Sudan. The Sudanese government won't accept responsibility for the crisis occurring within its borders, while the United Nations won't accept blame for the role they've played in allowing hundreds of thousands to die. Now it seems a new culprit has entered the debate on the true source of the conflict, and the blame is now being shifted to… global warming.
In March of this year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he believed global warming is as threatening as modern warfare. He also declared that reducing green house gases would be one of his top priorities. Ban's comments have sparked a debate about the real consequences of global climate change.
For all of us who thought global warming would simply cause higher energy bills to keep cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, we were wrong. Global warming has the potential to highlight the vast differences in living standards amongst develop and developing nations in such a way that it could cause chaos.
Are green house gases causing civil wars? According to many scientists, professors, and politicians the answer is yes.Climate change has the potential to create international and civil wars, large scale migration to developed nations, increased terrorism and crime, and a rise in the number of failed nations.
There's a huge problem with the logic behind the link between conflicts and global warming. That problem would be taking the responsibility away from our governments and placing it with an entity that can never truly accept responsibility for something like genocide.
If your town or city was experiencing a drought and the community didn't have enough food to feed its families, would the blame be placed on global warming or your government for not importing additional food or assisting with alternative methods of irrigation?
The real problem with the blame game that is erupting globally is that governments may potentially be let off the hook for not responding to crises within their own borders. It also gives corrupt leaders an excuse to commit atrocities on their own citizens. A government may aide and influence one side of a civil war instead of providing assistance to its all of its citizens to cope with agricultural problems that may be ongoing.
The environment has become a part of the equation for conflict because of the world's declining access to arable land, water and natural resources. This situation is coupled with a growing world population and issues of poverty. The solution to the potential consequences of global warming is for developed nations to aide vulnerable countries in producing tools and techniques that will help these nations adapt to global climate change.
Ensuring peace in the world means that we must ensure that every nation is able to provide for its citizens. It will be at least a few decades before anyone knows if global warming is truly a global threat, but that doesn't mean we can't take the time to address some of the concerns that are surfacing. While many nations are still grappling with the gravity and reality of global warming the real consequences are beginning to appear. It's up to us to decide if these threats are credible or not, and what the response should be.