Climate and Terrorism


Human Wrongs Watch

ROME, 3 August 2016 (IPS) – The media are increasingly reporting events in a basic manner, and have by and large abandoned the process of deep analysis. Now is the moment to focus our attention on terrorism. This topic will remain a pressing issue for quite some time.

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Roberto Savio

We now know that terrorism has many causes, which can be rooted in religion to feelings of social exclusion and from a desire for glory to the actions of a damaged psyche.

There is no way to fight against the unpredictable, and in mentally unstable minds emulation is an important factor.

The danger is that we will probably fall into the ISIS trap, and this kaleidoscope of confusion could subsequently result in a war of religion, which will further radicalize European Muslims.

In fact, until now, no act of terror has come from immigrants (except a mentally disturbed afghan).

Yet, it is important to take into account that for every European killed, there are over 120 Arabs who die because of ISIS.

Since the United Nations Conference on Climate Change concluded last December, climate topics have almost disappeared in media content, and in public debates.

Everybody is mesmerized by the tide of refugees, and how they are changing the political landscape of Europe. The rise of nationalism; populism and xenophobia calls to mind the fatal decade of the thirties.

Climate Victims

We cannot ignore the lasting impacts climate change and natural disasters leave on affected populations.

In his Climate Victims – Every Second, One Person Is Displaced by DisasterBaher Kamal reminds us  that “Every second, one person is displaced by disaster,” according to the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reports.

In 2015 only, more than 19.2 million people fled disasters in 113 countries. “Disasters displace three to ten times more people than conflict and war worldwide.”

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) forecasts 200 million environmental migrants by 2050, moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis. Many of them would be coastal population.

On this, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that coastal populations are at particular risk as a global rise in temperature of between 1.1 and 3.1 degrees C,  which is presently the final agreement of the Paris conference, the mean sea level would increase by 0.73 meters, with large areas made susceptible to flooding, erosion, and saltwater intrusion.

The New York Times carried a story on the demise of Lake Poopò, in Bolivia, which was 3.000 square kilometres, and provided livelihoods to over 10.000 villagers. Now only 636 remain, while the others havegone to seek labour in coal mines 200 miles away, or to the nearest city, La Paz.

A millenarian culture has been lost. Lake Poopò is one of the several lakes worldwide that are disappearing, because of human causes, writes the NYT. California’s Mono Lake and the Salton Sea have dramatically shrunk because of water diversion. Rising temperatures jeopardize lakes in Canada and Mongolia.

All Countries Agreed to Fight Climate Change, However…

Let us recall that in Paris all countries of the world agreed to fight climate change. However, to be able to carry as many countries as possible on board, the Preparatory Conference of Lima, December 2014, agreed to implement a target system.

Every country is to decide its objectives and will be responsible for ensuring their individual implementation.

What Would Happen If Every Citizen Was Granted Full Monetary Responsibility

Let us just stop to think what would happen if every citizen was granted full monetary responsibility and were left to decide how much taxes they should pay.

The result is that the sum of the national targets adopted at Paris indicates a rise in the world’s temperature by 3.4 centigrades. In fact, the original goal was to not exceed 2 degrees, and this is the basis for the final declaration.

At the same time, scientists have been saying that if we go beyond 1.5 degrees, the planet will suffer immensely. They consider the target of 2 centigrades a political gimmick, and of course the present t level of agreement of 3.4 centigrades a threat to the survival of humanity.

At Paris, it was also agreed that controls on the implementation of the agreement would start only in 2020: therefore we cannot predict the outcomes of the agreement. From different reports, we are fully aware that nobody is in a rush to get this done.

In spite of this, NASA, the respected American Space Agency has recently published a worrying report: for three consecutive years the world’s temperatures have been the hottest on record since 1880.

2016, Hotter Than 2015 and 2014

This year, 2016, will be even hotter than 2015 and 2014. We are now at an increase of 1.3 centigrades over 1880. Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA ‘s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, declared: “I certainly, would not say that we have gotten to that higher Paris number and we are going to stay there, But I think it’s fair to say that we are dancing with that lower target”.

This brings the problem of climate refugee much closer to us than we realize. The additional problem being that in legal terms, the category of climate refugee does not exist.

Europe, US Entering a Serious Political Crisis

The Human Rights Convention protects only those who escape war and violence, not climate change. Yet, Europe and the United States are entering in a serious political crisis, because of a lack of policy on the tide of refugee status. In the political agenda, there is not a word about climate refugees, which exceed the number of political refugees by far.

It is widely agreed, that a long and severe drought in Syria made many escape from their villages to towns, and the deplorable conditions fuelled the protests against the government.

The consequent repression, in many ways, triggered the civil war which has destroyed the country, killed over 400.000 civilians, created an exodus of 4.7 million citizens, of whom over a million come to find refuge in Europe. An influx of displaced Syrians who are being used by populists like Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage to win elections.

Donald Trump has a lead of 44 to 30 percent, according to a CNN The poll, over the issue of order and security, because of his strong talks about immigrants and refugees.

UN Summit on Refugees, Migrants

A UN Summit for refugees and migrants will be held in September in New York. This would be the ideal moment to shape a global policy surrounding refugees, also incorporating the category of climate refugees.

We are now on the brink of the American Elections. Let us hope this moment in history will not pass us by as a missed opportunity to lessen the plight of climate refugees.

*Roberto Savio is the founder and former Director-General of international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS).

In recent years he has also founded Other News, a service providing ‘information that markets eliminate’.

*Roberto Savio’s Op-Ed was published in IPS. Go to Original. Some updates provided by the author have been incorporated.

Roberto Savio: utopie@ips.org. http://www.robertosavio.info.

Other News.

In Spanish: http://www.other-news.info/noticias/

In English: http://www.other-net.info/ 

Don’t miss these articles by Roberto Savio in Human Wrongs Watch:

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Islamophobia Is a Political Tool

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Unnoticed, We Are Close to the Destruction of Our Planet

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A Decalogue to Understand Terrorism and Its Consequences

Germany: Reaping What You Sow

Are We Entering Into a Long Term Stagnation?

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Christmas, the Weather, the Republicans and the Rest of Us

Of Democracy and Climate – Two Lessons from Paris

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A Politically Incorrect Reflection on the Paris Massacre

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The West Vote for a Better Yesterday

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Planet Racing Towards Catastrophe and Politics Just Looking On

OP-ED: International Relations, the U.N. and Inter Press Service

Ever Wondered Why the World is a Mess?

Economic Growth Is Anything But “A Rising Tide Lifting All Boats”

Banks, Financial Institutions and Citizens — The Urgent Need to Update the Seven Deadly Sins

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The Rich Complain That We Do Not Love Them

The Free Market Fundamentalists Are Now in Europe

The ‘European Dream’ Going the Way of the ‘American Dream’

Thatcher, Reagan and Their “Revolutions”

Cyprus: Do You Understand What Has Really Happened?

Hugo Chávez’s legacy to Latin America

“The Tide Is Growing, But The System Does Not Realise It”

The Palestine Drama, Public Theories and Hidden Realities

China Opening a Confrontation on the Sea

After Two Lost Decades, Japan Went to Sleep

Japan – Ethics, Democracy, Growth

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A Personal Experience with the American Justice System

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Banks and Politics Do Not Mix Well

2016 Human Wrongs Watch

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