Haven Europe (Haven America?) – safe while the world burns

A total of 46 nations and 2.7 billion people are now at high risk of being overwhelmed by armed conflict and war because of climate change. A further 56 countries face political destabilisation, affecting another 1.2 billion individuals.

– according to the organisation, International Alert, written about in the Observer.

The worst threats involve nations lacking resources and stability to deal with global warming, added the agency’s secretary-general, Dan Smith. ‘Holland will be affected by rising sea levels, but no one expects war or strife,’ he told The Observer. ‘It has the resources and political structure to act effectively. But other countries that suffer loss of land and water and be buffeted by increasingly fierce storms will have no effective government to ensure corrective measures are taken. People will form defensive groups and battles will break out.’


In Europe, most countries are currently considered stable enough to cope with global warming, apart from the Balkans; wars have left countries such as Serbia and Montenegro politically weakened. As temperatures rise and farmland is reduced, population pressures will trigger violence that authorities will be unable to contain.

Some nations on the risk map, such as Russia, may cause surprise. ‘Moscow’s control of Russia as a whole will not be undermined by global warming,’ said Smith. ‘But loss of farmland in some regions will lead to local rebellions like those already triggered in Chechnya.’

Conflict triggered by climate change is not a vague threat for coming years, he added. ‘It is already upon us.’

What luck for us Europeans. No mention, I note from the article, of North America.

[You may wonder why I’m tagging this post in ‘psychology’, ‘religion’ and other seemingly peripheral categories; well, I think we need all the help we can get, and psychologists and religious folk alike need to lend their helping hands to these problems.]

What should we do next? What would Bush do? (That’s tongue in cheek, by the way. We need some attention and resource to the United Nations, the only international forum around.)


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2 Responses to “Haven Europe (Haven America?) – safe while the world burns”

  1. smarimc Says:

    The UN is powerless on the large scale while action isn’t taken on the small scale – initiatives for peace must arise in the affected areas, because as primary stakeholders in prosperity of their given region and the primary contributers to the instability, those who are likely to get caught up in a warlike situation need to decide if this is their future or not.

    Alas, that won’t save everybody. Iran is a target these days, and will remain one as long as there’s an insane warmonger at the helm of the most powerful nuclear nation around, and I don’t think there’s a lot that can be done to change that. Also, a lot of people need to start taking responsibility for their inactions as much as their actions – the recent elections in Russia were highly dubious to say the least, and yet the Russian people don’t appear to be doing all that much about it.

    In short, we need to scale down our problems, not seek a higher authority – and thereby I shoot down your religious comment as well. Can’t see how they can help – normally, it’s the religions that are a key contributer to the problem.

  2. drfrank Says:

    As you will note, smaric, from my use of language, I don’t regard religious folk or the UN as ‘higher powers’. Instead, I regard them as a significant constituency on one hand, and a forum that has helped to develop overviews of global interconnections on the other.

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