Journalism and the environment

03. The effects of climate change from the Sahelian strip to South Asia /

Heat records have been broken every year since 2014. Temperatures are rising and the increase in natural disasters is threatening peace and security. In three major areas in particular.

Bad news: over the last 15 years, greenhouse gas concentrations have risen more than ever before. Many countries have made commitments but so far no concrete solution has emerged. World Climate Research Programme experts say that with this rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, the world will see a warming of 2.3 to 4.5 degrees.

Climate change is driving a huge surge in natural disasters, be it cyclones, droughts, rising temperature and sea levels. And this poses a major threat to world peace and security. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, 19 of the countries hardest hit by climate change are also among the forty least peaceful countries in the world. Three major areas have been identified.

The Sahel is among the most exposed, from Mauritania to Somalia. Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are especially hard hit, with the double burden of climate change and conflict. Along with violence, there is an intensification of desertification due to rising temperatures, water stress, an increasing scarcity of food resources and population explosion.

The second area stretches from Angola to Mozambique and Madagascar. Cyclones are becoming more frequent and there are extended periods of drought. A catastrophic situation given that 60% of Southern Africa’s population relies on subsistence farming and grows crops such as maize.

And the third area extends from the Middle East to South Asia. Sources of tension risk exacerbating existing conflicts. Turkey, for instance, has its hand on the tap flowing towards Syria and Iraq, which has already seen thirst protests following droughts. A situation seen in Iran too, where lakes and reservoirs are dry, and many cities face water supply cuts.

Beyond these three areas, a total of 5.4 billion people will experience high or extreme water stress by 2040. This will lead to food shortages and violence, particularly in China and India. We need only look at how India’s sixth largest city, Chennai, is facing a dire water shortage. Its reservoirs are dry and protests have erupted, in this city of ten million, over the government’s failure to manage water.

It is therefore essential to better focus government and private aid and/or investment. As well as improve the resilience level of many countries.

If we do not change our behaviour by 2050, these phenomena will increase and our living conditions will become progressively worse. We must therefore understand these mechanisms so that we can analyse them and inform as many people as possible, accurately and simply, about the issues and the possible solutions.

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