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Unending Conflicts: Impact of Climate Change by Oladosu Adenike

Unending Conflicts: Impact of Climate Change
             By Oladosu Adenike

Climate change represents the biggest challenge that human beings face today. With its varied dimensions; climate change induces hopelessness in tomorrow’s world. some of the questions that keep seeking for answers are; how does climate change affect conflict? Or how does conflict affect climate change? Since the creation (or evolution) of man, his existence have been threatened by varied conflicts and wars due to the existence of destructive weapons. Conflicts with its socio-economic implications have made the lifespan of man to be shortened and wasted. In time past, conflict – be it ethnic, regional, natural or international dimensions have led to the untimely death of people and broken the bond of humanity.
As an ecofeminist and peace activist, I totally agree with the world of Martin Luther King Jnr. which says; “our lives begin to end the day we become quiet about those things that matters to our world.”
1.5°C Increase in Temperature Causing Conflict: A Case of Lake Chad.
It is a known fact that 80% of Africans depend on subsistence agriculture for their livings. These include farmers, herdsmen, petty marketers (traders), village heads and other small chain businesses. This can be scientifically judged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports which states that;
“Food and water security have been negatively impacted by changes in Snow cover, Lakes and Rivers, Ice and Permafrost in many arctic region. These changes have disrupted access to food availability within herding, hunting, fishing and gathering areas, harming the livelihoods and cultural identity of indigenous habitants.”
The immediate geographical density of the Lake Chad region shows it is dependent on by 40 million people in the West Africa region. This have affected the livelihood of millions of people including herders, farmers and fish men since water bodies are one of the sources of biodiversity.
The Boko Haram conflict is partly due to climate change and its multiplying effects in depletion of resources. Climate change causes conflicts and conflict conversely causes climate change. Although, the primary cause of the boko haram may not be climate change but it is partly due to the adverse effect of climate change on the livelihood and culture of people. It is well known that climate change affects our culture (the way we dress), occupation, health and other social aspects of individuals in a society. Meanwhile, high-profile scientists and powerful politicians have endorsed the idea that global warming pushing conflicts across the world. In 2015, Barack Obama agreed to the partly causes of climate change in escalating world conflicts by saying; “I understand climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world, yet what we also know is the severe drought helped it create the terrorist group Boko Haram,” Furthermore, he posits that; “It is now believed that drought, crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the middle East.”
Researchers have warned over the years that chronic water shortage creates instability and violence around Lake Chad reinforcing terrorist groups like Boko Haram in the West Africa region. According to reports by Journalist Megan Darby; “30 million people across Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon are competing over a shrinking water resources.” This have led to farming and pastoral livelihood to suffer, eroding the legitimacy of state government and the region becoming a ripe recruiting ground for extremist and armed conflicts. This shows the proportionality between armed conflicts and climate change. Hence it is gratifying to note that the role of global warming was acknowledged in the UN Security Council first resolution on conflict in the Lake Chad basin which the delegates opined that each of them; “recognizes the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes, other factors on the stability of the region, including through water scarcity, drought, desertification, land degradation and food insecurity and emphasizes the need for adequate risks assessments and risk management strategies by government and United Nations relating to these factors.”
Studies cited by Adeiphi, shows that the frequency of rainy days in Northeastern Nigeria has decreased by 53% since the 1970s, while neighboring Chad has seen warming at twice the global rate. Those trends have combined with a doubling of population to put water resources under unprecedented pressure. This conflict has led to the worst humanitarian and refugee crises the world is currently facing. Furthermore, the climate crises in the Sub-Sahara region (Lake Chad region geographically) have led to the increase in helpless economic migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea resulting to the loss of livelihood. According to World Bank; “Africa may have 90% of the world’s poor in the next ten years” due to climate change crises and poor governance system. Furthermore Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted; “Africa is expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average.” The Nobel winning organization (IPCC) further said that “one out of the people in Sub-Sahara Africa are still living in extreme poverty, hundreds of millions of people do not have the same safety awarded those in wealthier, industrialized nation.”
Climate governance: Saving our democracy
When conflicts arise, democracy becomes a failing project. The modern concept of democracy includes only the people; be it communism, socialism or capitalism. It must include the people and the environment. The existence of the world depends on two things; people and environment. Climate governance is a system of Climate justice which seeks to incorporate policies that favor people and environment. It is well known that man cannot live without environment, so democracy will not survive without justice to the environment. Historian has found temperature or rainfall change implicated in the fall of Rome and other many wars of the 17th century. A team of economics at UC Berkely and Stanford University has gone further, arguing that an empirical connection between violence and Climate Change persists across 120,000 years of human history. According to Bill Clinton, ‘first I worry about Climate Change, it is the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it and make a lot of the other efforts that we are making irrelevant and impossible’. Climate crises represents the kind of crisis that will end the world if we fail to meet the UN target of 1.50C reduction in global warming as the fire of Climate Change is bigger than the roaring of war.
Oladosu Adenike is Climate Change/Peace activist and freelance Journalist

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