Blaming climate change for everything

In: Uncategorized

30 Dec 2006

The Christian Science Monitor provides a typical example of how an increasing number of problems are being viewed through the prism of climate change. An article on Uganda looks at recent conflicts between the semi-nomadic Karimojong and the Ugandan army. It goes on to quote an environmentalist activist as if she was a neutral expert:

“With more people forced to share fewer resources, experts warn that conflict will increase. ‘Climate change will hit pastoral communities very hard,’ says Grace Akumu, executive director of environmental pressure group Climate Network Africa. ‘The conflict is already getting out of hand and we are going to see an increase in this insecurity.’ “

She goes on to argue that it is the West, and particularly America, that is to blame. If only they had signed global protocols to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Her argument is based on several dubious assumptions:

* By far the biggest error is that holding that without global warming there would be no conflict. But the problem of scarce resources, particularly in a poverty-stricken country like Uganda, would exist in any case. What the country desperately needs is economic development to enrich its people and make it less prone to environmental problems.

* It assumes that global warming has already had a substantial impact on Uganda. This needs to be proved rather than assumed.

* It is taken as given that the Kyoto protocol, if successfully implemented, would make a significant difference to the warming trend. There are good reasons to question this argument too.