Thursday, June 30, 2005

Meanwhile...while you're not thinking about Iraq

Salon had a nice piece yesterday on how Fox News is ignoring the Iraq war; random looks at CNN & MSNBC seem to yield similar things: MSNBC seems to have gotten smitten with celebrities, and CNN's gone crime obsessed. Meanwhile:

In a stark message for world leaders who meet in Gleneagles next week to discuss global warming, Wulf Killman, chairman of the UN food and agriculture organisation's climate change group, said the droughts that have devastated crops across Africa, central America and south-east Asia in the past year are part of an emerging pattern.

"Africa is our greatest worry," he said. "Many countries are already in difficulties ... and we see a pattern emerging. Southern Africa is definitely becoming drier and everyone agrees that the climate there is changing. We would expect areas which are already prone to drought to become drier with climate change."

The food and agriculture organisation and the US government, both of which monitor global food shortages, agree that 34 countries are now experiencing droughts and food shortages and others could join them. Up to 30 million people will need assistance because of the droughts and other natural disasters such as the Asian tsunami.

The worst affected countries include Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Eritrea and Zambia, a group of countries where at least 15 million people will go hungry without aid. The situation in Niger, Djibouti and Sudan is reported to be deteriorating rapidly. Many countries have had their worst harvests in more than 10 years and are experiencing their third or fourth severe drought in a few years, the UN said.

Climate change could also trigger the growth of deserts in southern Africa. A report published in Nature today predicts that as greenhouse gases fuel global warming, the dunes of the Kalahari could begin to spread. By 2099, shifting sands could be blowing across huge tracts of Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe and western Zambia. Much of the region was covered by shifting dunes more than 4,000 years ago.

This is a potential catastrophe that makes Iraq under Saddam Hussein look like a purse-snatching by comparison.

Frankly, if you want to talk "genocide" this looks a lot like one brewing.

It's one we can do something about.

I wonder what our response will or won't be.

No comments: