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View Full Version : The Link Between Anthropogenic Climate Change & War - New Report Confirms Link



Peter Lemkin
08-30-2011, 05:14 AM
Global Warming & War: New Study (http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110824/full/news.2011.501.html) Finds Link Between Climate Change and Conflict

A new study has found that that often war is associated with global climate change. According to the report, there are links between the climate phenomenon El Niño and outbreaks of violence in countries from southern Sudan to Indonesia and Peru. The scientists find that El Niño, which brings hot and dry conditions to tropical nations, doubles the risk of civil war in up to 90 countries, and may help account for a fifth of conflicts worldwide during the past 50 years. We speak with the report’s lead author, Solomon Hsiang, a postdoctoral researcher at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Solomon Hsiang, lead author of a study linking civil wars with global climate change. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. The research for the study on civil wars and climate change was conducted while he was at Columbia University.

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“Climate cycles drive civil war: Tropical conflicts double during El Niño years,” by Quirin Schiermeier. (Nature, Aug. 24, 2011)

AMY GOODMAN: We move to another issue around climate. A new study has found that war is associated with global climate. According to the report, there are links between the climate phenomenon El Niño and outbreaks of violence in countries from southern Sudan to Indonesia and Peru. In fact, the scientists find that El Niño, which brings hot and dry conditions to tropical nations, doubles the risk of civil war in up to 90 countries. The study was published online last week in the journal Nature. El Niño may help account for a fifth of conflicts worldwide during the past 50 years.

We’re joined by Solomon Hsiang, a lead author of the study linking civil wars with climate change, postdoctoral researcher at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Explain what you found, in these last few minutes.

SOLOMON HSIANG: So what we did is we looked at data since 1950, and we looked at how the global climate fluctuated between a cooler and wetter La Niña state and a higher and drier El Niño state. And what we found is that when the global climate was in the cooler and wetter La Niña state, the risk of conflict in the tropics was about three percent per year. So what that means is, if you had a hundred countries, you would expect about three of them to begin a new civil war in any given year. But when you move to the hotter and drier El Niño state, the risk of conflict rises to six percent, which is a doubling.

AMY GOODMAN: And a little backing up, El Niño, explain exactly what it is.

SOLOMON HSIANG: Sorry. So, El Niño is a change in the global climate that originates in the Pacific Ocean. So under normal conditions, there’s winds that push warm water across the Pacific Ocean and basically pile it up around Indonesia. But in some years, that wind pattern breaks down, and that water sloshes all the way across the ocean, across the equatorial Pacific, and releases a tremendous amount of thermal energy into the atmosphere. And that creates an enormous wave that propagates through the atmosphere around the tropics, leading to warmer and drier conditions throughout most of the tropics and subtropics.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see the U.S. being impacted by El Niño in this way that you’re describing?

SOLOMON HSIANG: So, actually, in our study—there are generally observable impacts of El Niño in the United States. But in our study, the impacts were not large enough to merit inclusion in the group of countries that we denoted as being highly impacted by El Niño. So, in the tropics, the effect of El Niño is actually much more dramatic than what we observe in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: What were you most surprised by in this study?

SOLOMON HSIANG: So, we were actually most startled by the magnitude of the effect. The idea that El Niño could affect one-fifth of conflicts around the world startled us, and it was completely unexpected.

AMY GOODMAN: Give an example.

SOLOMON HSIANG: So, you know, we have—it’s very difficult to pin down a particular conflict as being related to El Niño. In general, I think the way to think about it is that the global climate is a contributing factor to ongoing existing conflicts. But there are many countries in the sample that look particularly conspicuous, because they begin conflicts in El Niño years.

AMY GOODMAN: Like?

SOLOMON HSIANG: For example, Peru, Sudan, Chad, Indonesia, Myanmar, these are all countries that have experienced conflicts that seem to be highly correlated with this process.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to link to your study at democracynow.org. Solomon Hsiang is our guest, the lead author of a study linking civil wars with global climate change, postdoctoral student at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
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NB [My Comments] - This is FAR from the only study of the well known effect in the Environmental community of past, present and projected future wars due to changing environmental factors! Currently there are and have been in recent history wars over water [which is decreasing], land and especially farming land, resources effected by climate change, sea level changes, weather changes, number and severity of storms, salinization of land, dropping of water tables and/or level in rivers and lakes - even the Aral Sea.....and more. We [humans] have created a total mess of the Planet, for millions of years in balance. We have fucked it up and most are unaware. Climate change, overpopulation, overuse of resources, unfair distribution of resources, and the multitude of changes that result from climate change and overpopulation have and will cause conflicts and Wars! The Environment is a Security issue, as well as a quality of life and quality of Planet issue.

Gary Severson
08-30-2011, 10:49 AM
The art./interview only talks about the effects of El Nino which isn't the result of AGW. It has always been a part of the weather process.

Peter Lemkin
08-30-2011, 11:08 AM
The art./interview only talks about the effects of El Nino which isn't the result of AGW. It has always been a part of the weather process.

No so. While there are cycles, such as El Nino / La Nina which are natural, the cycling period [as well as some of the parameters of the changes/timing/duration/etc.] have now changed due to anthropogenic changes in the atmosphere [and consequently the oceans], causing all sorts of changed weather patterns. All anthropogenic changes have also, at times, been effected by things other than humans....but now it is mostly us; in some areas is it ONLY us causing the changes and the problems. With the exception of catastrophic events such as meteor/comet hits causing sudden and planet-wide, longterm changes - most other changes happened over periods of time long enough for living creatures to adapt. Now, the changes are happening at speeds much too quick and too dramatic for most living creatures to adapt at all....the few who can are mostly archaia, bacteria, viruses and insects. All the rest are simply unable to adapt to such rapid and radical chances now being created by Homo non-sapiens. The temperature, amount of CO2, levels of O3 (ozone), advance and recession of glaciers and rise and fall of sea level, etc. have all changed naturally over time on Earth. Any and all such changes now are due to human activity and at rates not seen and to which living systems can not adapt in time with the exception of extinction events in Earth's history..and that is exactly what we are now creating...an EXTINCTION EVENT. Those humans who think they will not be affected - even affected in their own lifetime are naive and wrong.......in fact, some climate scientists wonder and worry whether it is not too late and that we have reached a 'tipping point' from which we can not recover, no matter what we now do.....but that is a long and complex discussion. El Nino is a natural event....but the rate of change and the temperature ranges are not normal...they are changed due to global warming and changed climatic patterns due to US. Sadly.

This is my field and what I was trained in in graduate school, and teach at university level now...for what its worth. :pirate:

Gary Severson
08-30-2011, 01:45 PM
Peter, I'll say it again, the interview says nothing about changes/frequencies in El Nino/La Nina due to global warming. Wars can be connected to El Nino without the effects of AGW. I personally believe El Nino has been effected by AGW but that is not what the author of this art. is saying. Maybe he says it someplace but not here.

Peter Lemkin
08-30-2011, 06:04 PM
Peter, I'll say it again, the interview says nothing about changes/frequencies in El Nino/La Nina due to global warming. Wars can be connected to El Nino without the effects of AGW. I personally believe El Nino has been effected by AGW but that is not what the author of this art. is saying. Maybe he says it someplace but not here.

The article doesn't go into details, its true...but El Nino has been with Earth/Gaia for millions of years...but the distance between episodes and the difference in temperatures have NEVER before changed so much, so quickly. Sometimes you have o read beyond the 'article'. It would be boring to most on this Forum were I to post the technical articles on this, but I could and will if necessary.....the increased variability [get that - increased!] in El Nino in recent decades is all due to anthropogenic changes ==> climate changes ===> changes in just about everything on this small little planet/spacecraft. WE humans have fucked up the Planet and ONLY we can stop and let Gaia get back to her normal equilibrium. I sense you are a human climate change skeptic....there are many in the world and some on this Forum, who should know better....but so it goes....there is even a strain of thought that claiming anthropogenic climate change is a conspiracy backed by the intel community and their Oligarchy masters. Nothing could be further from the truth. :mexican: May I suggest you get real and read up on Derrick Jensen [you can find him easily on this Forum or on the Internet.]

Gary Severson
08-30-2011, 06:44 PM
Peter, when you start with the "get real" comments my faith in your credibility wanes. I said in my previous post I believe in AGW. Apparently you don't remember who says what on this forum about issues you are interested in discussing. All I was saying is that this Amy Goodman interview doesn't touch on AGW as it relates to El Nino. Show me where in the extended version of this material that Hsiang says war is related to AGW & not just El Nino as it has existed for 100s millions of yrs. I agree increasing El Nino frequencies and intensities are the result of AGW but this art. is misleading as it stands.

Gary Severson
09-01-2011, 01:05 AM
Peter, I'll say it again, the interview says nothing about changes/frequencies in El Nino/La Nina due to global warming. Wars can be connected to El Nino without the effects of AGW. I personally believe El Nino has been effected by AGW but that is not what the author of this art. is saying. Maybe he says it someplace but not here.

The article doesn't go into details, its true...but El Nino has been with Earth/Gaia for millions of years...but the distance between episodes and the difference in temperatures have NEVER before changed so much, so quickly. Sometimes you have o read beyond the 'article'. It would be boring to most on this Forum were I to post the technical articles on this, but I could and will if necessary.....the increased variability [get that - increased!] in El Nino in recent decades is all due to anthropogenic changes ==> climate changes ===> changes in just about everything on this small little planet/spacecraft. WE humans have fucked up the Planet and ONLY we can stop and let Gaia get back to her normal equilibrium. I sense you are a human climate change skeptic....there are many in the world and some on this Forum, who should know better....but so it goes....there is even a strain of thought that claiming anthropogenic climate change is a conspiracy backed by the intel community and their Oligarchy masters. Nothing could be further from the truth. :mexican: May I suggest you get real and read up on Derrick Jensen [you can find him easily on this Forum or on the Internet.]

Peter, where's the extended version?