Monday, 19 September 2011

Sociologist: Global warming could lead to "nuclear exchange" between India and Pakistan

Dr. Christian Parenti (a contributing editor at The Nation, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, and a visiting scholar at the City University of New York) is convinced that human induced climate change will lead to increasing violence and wars in different parts of the world. He even seems to think that global warming could contribute to a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Here is an excerpt from a review which praises Parenti´s new book:

The collision between climate change and violence is the subject of Christian Parenti’s impressive new book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. The guiding idea is what Parenti calls the “the catastrophic convergence.” By this he means something more geographically and historically targeted than a coming climate-triggered global war. Chaos focuses on a handful of developing countries where the author says climate change is amplifying previous crises with roots in the more climatically stable 20th-century.

The book’s most chilling chapter surveys how climate change threatens to upend the increasingly delicate water balance in South Asia. Kashmir, aside from holding deep symbolic value to both Islamabad and New Delhi, is the source of rivers providing 90 percent of Pakistan’s agricultural irrigation. Because of declining rainfall, these rivers are not what they used to be, and water tables are falling throughout the country. The glaciers that feed the Ganga and Indus rivers in India are likewise shrinking, threatening India’s future water stability.

Although they don’t often make it into media accounts of militant Islam or U.S. Af-Pak policy, climate issues are increasingly relevant. Parenti reminds us that the religious fanatics of Pakistan and Afghanistan “talk of water, god, and violence in the same breath.” Subtract god from the equation, and you also have the battle cry of the Maoist Naxalites, India’s own increasingly climate-driven rebel army. Should India’s water situation throw the country into an even deeper agricultural crisis, Hindu extremists, who have major party representation in the form of the BJP, will likely take up a similar battle cry. And it won’t just be a regional disaster if the two countries go to war over water. The latest science indicates an Indo-Pak nuclear exchange would trigger an atmospheric disturbance that would lead to “worldwide destruction” and a further decimation of global food capacity.

Read the entire article here

Reality check:

This year India has experienced an all-time record harvest - which has created serious problems due to lacking storage capacity. So, not very likely that climate change is throwing the country "into an ever deeper agricultural crisis" and certainly not to an "Indo-Pak nuclear exchange".

And how about the "chilling chapter" about "water tables falling throughout" Pakistan leading to war and violence?
Not very likely either: The Pakistani government has just launched a major new initiative in order to prevent damages created by extremely heavy rains:

Rapid Response Plan–Pakistan Floods 2011, has been launched on Sunday, Federal Minister for information Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that masses in country are unfortunately once again passing through great hardship due to unexpected and unprecedented heavy monsoon rains and resultant floods that have hit the entire Province of Sindh as well as few areas of the Province of Balochistan.


Rainer B said...

National Geographic ran a feature in February this year "Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming".
If it all were true, Al Gore's big claim, the feature of National Geographic and Dr. Christian Parenti's claims, it would mean that global warming could halt itself, would cause its own balance.

A K Haart said...

I've been convinced for many years that writers who promote apocalyptic scenarios just make things up. It is after all a profitable and rewarding thing to do - the evidence is incontrovertible.

Typo in title - Sosiologist.

NNoN said...

Typo corrected. Thanks for reminding me!