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article imageStudy: African wars brought on by global warming

By Kevin Jess     Nov 24, 2009 in Environment
A controversial new study that looks at the effects of climate change on global conflicts says that Africa is about to experience a surge in civil wars.
Researchers led by Marshall Burke at the University of California, Berkeley, and David Lobell of Stanford University say that rising temperatures that come as a result of climate change will result in conflict on the African continent that will see nearly 400,000 additional battle deaths by 2030, reports NewScientist.
The study, which was the first of it's kind to create models that took into account both temperature and precipitation found that warming was more closely associated with conflict than rainfall.
In the study, the team used data from 1981 - 2002 showing the incidences of civil war in Africa compared to weather patterns, in particular precipitation, and temperature.
Climate models across the continent of Africa were consistent as far as warming trends were concerned, giving the researchers the ability to forecast a 54 per cent rise in the incidence of civil conflict by 2030.
Assuming that global carbon dioxide emissions are not curbed in the short term and that future wars are as deadly as recent ones, global warming would result in 393,000 combat deaths in Africa alone.
In their study they say, "Our results suggest an urgent need to reform African governments' and foreign aid donors' policies to deal with rising temperatures."
While other researchers do agree with climate change having an effect on world conflicts there are some who feel that this study's findings may be a bit dramatic.
Mr. Lobel says, "We're very willing to be proven wrong."
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