Business as usual is planetary suicide. Time to slay Zombie Big Oil
The perfect storm is here
Over the last few years, “several periods of rapid food and cereal price increases following climate extremes in key producing regions indicate a sensitivity of current markets to climate extremes among other factors.”
Just look at the unrest in Egypt, Syria and Ukraine – not to mention Venezuela, Bosnia, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, among many more - all of which are related to the fact that food prices have hovered around “the boiling point” over the last 18 months.
And according to a new report by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), in 2012 alone 31.7 million people were forced from their homes due to extreme weather events such as flooding and storms.
As I’ve argued before, this is a taste of things to come, rooted as it is in a ‘perfect storm’ convergence of climate, energy and economic crises.
The EJF points out that every 1 degree Celsius (C) rise in global average temperatures is estimated to cause a 14% increase of intergroup conflict and a 4% increase of interpersonal violence. While climate change does not by itself necessitate conflict, refracted through the current structures of an increasingly unequal global political economy, it dramatically increases the risk.
In the IPCC’s words, continued climate change will bring with it an escalating “breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes.” This collapse of interdependent human and natural systems, in turn, will likely “prolong existing, and create new, poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger,” as well as increasing “risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence.”
But violent conflict, in turn, “increases vulnerability to climate change” by harming “assets that facilitate adaptation, including infrastructure, institutions, natural resources, social capital, and livelihood opportunities” – creating a vicious cycle.