Blame It On El Nino: Researchers Link Conflict To Climate Change

By Carlton Purvis

"This study shows a systematic pattern of global climate affecting conflict right now. We are still dependent on climate to a very large extent,” Hsiang told the Guardian. And, he says, because El Nino events can be predicted in advance, bloodshed could be prevented.

From the Guardian:

 ... bad weather does appear to tip less developed countries into chaos more easily, said Hsiang, pointing to the example of southern Sudan, where intense warfare broke out in the El Niño year of 1963.

After a flare-up in another El Niño year, 1976, a severe El Niño, in 1983, saw the start of more than 20 years of fighting, which left 2 million people dead and culminated only this year when South Sudan was formed as a separate nation.

But is it junk science? Well,  thinks so. It says that the study’s major problem is that even if there is a statistical correlation between El Nino weather and wars, "the study authors failed to examine any of the actual socio-political circumstances surrounding the wars.”

Other critics say the sample time frame examined in the study (1950-2009) is too short, and that the study doesn’t account for countries like Australia who are considerably affected by El Nino weather patterns, but haven’t had civil wars.

Junk Science speculates the goal of the research was to link CO2 emissions with national security to provide more ammunition for climate change scientists. But Hsiang said the study's goal was to help prevent and reduce humanitarian suffering. 


♦ photo by hdptcar  from flickr


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