A Climate Culprit In Darfur

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A Climate Culprit In Darfur


Ban Ki-Moon


Article in The Washington Post


June 16, 2007



... Two decades ago, the rains in southern Sudan began to fail. According to UN statistics, average precipitation has declined some 40 percent since the early 1980s. Scientists at first considered this to be an unfortunate quirk of nature. But subsequent investigation found that it coincided with a rise in temperatures of the Indian Ocean, disrupting seasonal monsoons. This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming.

It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought. Until then, Arab nomadic herders had lived amicably with settled farmers. A recent Atlantic Monthly article by Stephan Faris describes how black farmers would welcome herders as they crisscrossed the land, grazing their camels and sharing wells. But once the rains stopped, farmers fenced their land for fear it would be ruined by the passing herds. For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out. By 2003, it evolved into the full-fledged tragedy we witness today...

See also...
Ban Ki-Moon, "What I Saw in Darfur: Untangling the Knots of a Complex Crisis" in The Wahington Post, 14 September, 2007.
At World Economic Forum, Ban Ki-moon pledges action on water resources
Ban Ki-moon warns that water shortages are increasingly driving conflicts

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