|Peru's civil war erupted during an El Nino year|
A recent study has made the first link between global climate patterns, specifically ENSO, to the onset of civil conflict and, perhaps most interestingly, a factor that is being placed on a par with poverty. Researchers at Princton University have been looking at conflicts that have occured between 1950 and 2004 that killed more than 25 people a year and then compared those years with whether or not we were in a El Nino or La Nina. The analysis included 175 countries and 234 conflicts, with more than half being responsible for 1000 deaths, and concluded that the risk of conflict in tropical countries rose by 3% during La Nina to 6% during El Nino; with this affect being absent in those countries who only experienced a small impact thanks to the climate cycles (essentially countries with a temperate climate). This study has shown that 1/5 of the conflicts that have erupted since 1950 are a result of the cyclical changes in climate which have, primarily, triggered reductions in food production.
Although ENSO has wide and varied effects, I think it is quite unsettling to think that cyclical short term variations in climate can seem to have such an impact when the predicted changes as a result of global climate change are likely to be much more extreme and long lasting - so just how are we going to adapt to those???
|Is it just coincidence that cyclical climatic changes have occured|
just before the eruption of civil conflict in many developing
|Hopefully provides a general idea of the varying|
impacts of El Nino on the climates of many
This seems to be the first clear link between civil conflict and climatic cycles and I think it only reinforces the idea of our dependency on climate and the dictatorial role it has played and, perhaps, continues to play in terms of development (post on this idea hopefully on its way soon!). I must admit that it does concern me that if ENSO, an example of a short term cyclical climatic change which we are forever understanding and predicting better, can have such an impact on social unrest; how is mankind going to cope with the sea-level rises, droughts, famines, more natural disasters etc. that are predicted to accompany global climate change - a change in climate whose impacts are going to be much further reaching...........