• France's news in English

Experts link Isis to climate ahead of summit

AFP · 29 Nov 2015, 08:34

Published: 29 Nov 2015 08:34 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
As more than 150 world leaders prepared to meet under heightened security, analysts warned of an increasingly war-torn future facing humanity if they fail to limit global warming.
The Paris attacks on November 13th were claimed by the Islamic State group that has a brutal war in Syria - a conflict rooted in part, experts say, on an historic drought from 2006 to 2010.
It drove some 1.5 million farmers and herders off their land and into cities and towns like Homs, Palmyra and Damascus.
"It's not a coincidence that, immediately prior to the civil war in Syria, the country experienced the worst drought on record," US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Milan last month.
According to Francesco Femia of The Center for Climate and Security in Washington DC, research has shown the Syrian drought "was made two to three times more likely because of climate change".
Many a report has suggested that water scarcity, exacerbated by global warming, has fuelled deadly conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, thus contributing to the flood of refugees seeking a better life in Europe and elsewhere.
Experts warn the situation is likely to worsen as climate conditions become more hostile to human survival - and people become more desperate.
While climate change is not, on its own, a direct cause of conflict, competition for dwindling water and land resources can certainly fan flames in an already volatile situation, say analysts.
"Climate change is a 'threat multiplier'," Femia told AFP. "If, in a certain place, you introduce climate stress to the kinds of natural resource deficiencies that can contribute to state failure or conflict, you increase the likelihood of a conflict occurring."
In July, an international team of scientists, policy analysts, financial and military risk experts cautioned that food and water shortages would boost future conflicts over resources, mass migration and state failure.
Even sophisticated governments may be unable to deal with the combination of pressures, said the report entitled "Climate Change, a Risk Assessment".
"The expansion of ungoverned territories would in turn increase the risks of terrorism," with large numbers of marginalised and disenfranchised people to recruit from, said the report compiled for policymakers.
Negotiators from 195 nations will gather in Paris until December 11th to craft a pact to stave off worst-case-scenario climate change by limiting emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases.
The goal is to limit warming to 2C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above mid-19th century levels, when industrial-scale emissions began.
Even a 2C increase will mean a land-gobbling sea level rise, longer and more frequent droughts, and increasingly acute water shortages, scientists say. But the projected impacts worsen significantly beyond the two degree threshold.
A recent report by the Washington-based World Resources Institute warned that "high water stress" in Syria and its neighbours "will likely deteriorate in the coming decades."
"A well-documented path can connect water scarcity to food insecurity, social instability and potentially violent conflict," it said, adding that "climate change amplifies scarcity worries".
Story continues below…
Earlier this month, Toby Lanzer, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, warned that Europe's migrant crisis will become worse if the Paris climate summit fails countries in the drought-stricken Lake Chad basin.
Some 2.5 million people in the region have been displaced by a toxic mix of drought, poverty and conflict. An estimated 850,000 migrants have entered the European Union so far this year, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa.
"There is increasing evidence ... that there may be a statistically-significant correlation between climate change and conflict," Femia said.
This was borne out, he said, "in places like Kenya, where a changing climate has been linked to conflicts between pastoralists and farmers, and in Syria, where a mass internal displacement of people may be connected to political turmoil."
 President Francois Hollande of climate summit host France, also linked climate and conflict in a magazine interview this week.
"Even if we solve the problem of Syria, we will still be confronted with the migration of millions of people forced to move because they can't cultivate their land," he told l'Express. "This disorder can engender new conflicts."
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available