Sunday, 24 June 2007

Darfur- UN links climate change to war

A report on Darfur by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is getting a good deal of press currently:

'The conflict in Darfur has been driven by climate change and environmental degradation, which threaten to trigger a succession of new wars across Africa unless more is done to contain the damage, said a UN report published on Friday.

"Darfur ... holds grim lessons for other countries at risk," an 18-month study of Sudan by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) concluded.'

The links between natural resources and conflict have been well-studied over the last years, so the UNEP report is not ground-breaking. That said, it is good to see analysis on Darfur that goes beyond the travails of deploying a more robust peacekeping force. The report's statistics give some stark indications of the projected impacts of global warming:

'It [the report] found that the desert in northern Sudan has advanced southward by 80km over the past 40 years and that rainfall has dropped 16 percent to 30 percent. Climate models for the region suggest a rise of between 0.5oC and 1.5oC between 2030 and 2060. Meanwhile, yields in the local staple, sorghum, could drop 70 percent.'

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