12.6.2007 10:00 AM

Global Warming and War: 6 Flash Points

Nepal, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Arctic, East Africa and – Yes – the U.S.


By Dan Shapley

The Christian Science Monitor today outlines six potential flash points that could erupt into conflict with the help of global warming. Here's a synopsis:

  1. Nepal: Maoist insurgents may have already benefited from dry conditions spurred by shrinking glaciers, which have exposed the government's inability to help many communities with irrigation.

  2. Indonesia: Deforestation by farmers planting palm for biofuel is not only increasing carbon dioxide emissions, but igniting tension between the corporate farms and native populations that rely on the forests for the livelihoods.

  3. Lagos, Nigeria: At 17 million people and rising, Lagos is the most vulnerable megacity to sea-level rise, which will not only stress the coastal city, but also inspire even more immigration from rural areas on the coast. The city already is heavily influenced by outlaws and insurgents, and further instability could give them a stronger hand to play.

  4. United States: The Army and National Guard could be stretched so thin responding to international and domestic natural disasters that it may have to scale back humanitarian aid in order to preserve national security.

  5. The Arctic: If the need for oil remains acute, and supplies dwindle, the territorial gamesmanship in the thawing Arctic could turn violent.

  6. East Africa: The desertification of East Africa may already have contributed to the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, and the growing spread of desert could engender similar violent conflicts across a much wider region, as food supplies decline by as much as 70%.


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