Red Cross President: Climate Change Already Exacerbating World Conflicts
Peter Mauer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that climate change is already exacerbating world conflicts. On Oct. 21, Mauer told The Guardian that humanitarian organizations already had to factor in the effects of climate change.
Maurer warned that the impact of climate change on the Pacific is “enormous.” He said that changing rainfall patterns would affect the fertility of land and push large swaths of the population to migrate.
“It is obvious that certain types of violence that we are seeing now is directly related to the impact of climate change and changing rainfall patterns,” said Mauer. He said that mass migrations caused by climate change lead to tensions between the migrating communities and the native communities. He pointed to Mali and the Central African Republic as examples of this situation already happening.
According to temperature analysis by NASA, the average global temperature has increased by 0.8° C since 1880. Further, the rate of global warming has doubled since 1975, compared to the period between 1901 and 1974.
Two weeks earlier, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, commissioned by the UN, published a report that estimated the trajectory and effects of climate change in the coming decades. The report warned that limiting global warming to 1.5° C would require cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The 1.5° C threshold in the IPCC report differs from the 2° C target that world governments agreed on when drafting the Paris Agreement. The report estimated that the difference between the effects of a 1.5° C rise and 2° C rise in global temperatures was vast, in terms of famine, disease, economic tolls, and refugee crises. The report warned that the additional rise in sea level from 1.5° C to 2° C would put another 10 million people at risk.
A 2016 study by the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management analyzed historical data to draw a link between climate change and relocation. The study concluded that a 1° C rise in a county’s temperature is correlated to a 5% increase in migration to other countries.
Mauer concluded by calling on governments to develop policies needed to overcome the “root causes” of climate change. “At the end of the day there is no single policy that allows in any satisfactory way a response to these issues, but there are multiple things which can be done,” he said.