Red Cross Urges Nations to Provide Climate Adaption Aid to Conflict Zones

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the Red Cross, people suffering the combined effects of climate change and conflict need urgent climate aid.

Regions at war harder hit by climate change

LEONARD BLAZEBY
5:16PM AUGUST 9, 2020

Climate change is unfair. Conflict is cruel. Together they’re devastating.

We need to embrace this responsibility because around the world people will experience climate change differently. Some will be hit harder than others. Some will have the capacity to adapt and respond — others will not. What we know is this: of the 20 countries deemed most vulnerable to climate change, more than half of them are mired in conflict. And conflict reduces the capacity of people to adapt, to respond collectively.

In the west African country of Mali, living conditions are difficult even in peacetime. The hardship of decades of desertification, rare and unpredictable rainfall and a lack of infrastructure is made worse by a long-lasting conflict. When times are good, pastoralists and their herds of cattle would be able to travel far to find grazing land and water. This year, due to the insecurity caused by conflict, they cannot. Trapped in place, their animals perish, and people become destitute. Across Africa, these dynamics can fuel tensions between herder and farming communities as competition for scarce resources grows.

If conflict and climate change are beyond our lived experience in Australia, we need to broaden our circle of empathy to include those who live that reality every day. We need to encourage climate action to include global communities affected by conflict.

Read more: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/regions-at-war-harder-hit-by-climate-change/news-story/18794d1200c24a697f8b605f5188d7be

Back in the real world, greening of arid regions through CO2 fertilisation exceeds any damage from the slight warming the world has experienced.

I have no doubt if pastoralists are trapped in place by conflict, this would have a devastating impact on local grassland and on the herds of the pastoralists. Grazing is good for marginal grasslands, but you have to keep moving. However this is not a climate change issue.

The following is a TED talk by African ecologist Allan Savory. Allan organised a program which culled 40,000 elephants, to try to stop overgrazing and desertification. Allan eventually realised he was doing more harm than good. Grasslands in Africa are so adapted to being grazed, they actually suffer severe stress if the grazers are removed.

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August 9, 2020 at 09:04PM

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