Friday, September 15, 2006

Military solutions to climate change

This map shows the rough location of forces from Europe's Frontex border agency -- in this case largely Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Senegalese -- attempting to guard the doors of fortress Europe. The accompanying BBC story reports that some authorities describe the influx of about 20,000 West Africans to the Canary Islands as Spain's greatest humanitarian emergency since the Civil War.

The causes of migration from West Africa and elsewhere to Europe are various, and may at present have little to do with climate change. But if conditions in large parts of Africa deteriorate significantly as a result of climate change (as they may do in Bangladesh and elsewhere) then could we be looking at "real" numbers -- hundreds of thousands of refugees or more? John Schellnhuber has referred to the prospect of this scenario. What kind of maps would we be looking at then?

Several years ago Aubrey Meyer attributed the quote "there is no military solution to climate change" to Colin Powell (who has just distinguished himself by coming out against Bush's politics of fear). Regardless of whoever said it first, will people listen?

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