Thursday, June 28, 2007

Deaths From Global Warming

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, representing a consensus of the world's scientists, drought will kill hundreds of millions of people and will displace 1 to 2 billion people during this century, unless we act dramatically to slow global warming.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently pointed out that the genocide in Darfur is caused partly by global warming. Before the drought in east Africa, black farmers welcomed Arab herdsmen to their lands, where they grazed their herds and shared the wells. Fighting broke out between these two groups only when there was not enough food and water for all.

There are two articles in today's New York Times about the same subject.

The first says a new UN report has found that tens of millions of people have already left their lands to flee drought caused by global warming, and 50 million people are at risk of displacement in the next 10 years.

The second, a column by Nicholas Kristof named "Our Gas Guzzlers, Their Lives," talks about the shrunken lakes that he saw in Africa and says that crop yields in some countries could be cut in half by 2020 because of drought caused by global warming.

To put the predicted hundreds of millions of deaths in perspective, consider that Hitler killed 6 million people in the holocaust. Imagine this holocaust every year, year after year, for 50 to 100 years - that is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that we are causing.

It is by far the greatest suffering that has ever happened in human history -- but despite record gas prices, Americans are expected to flock to the roads for the usual Fourth of July pleasure driving.