America’s First Climate Refugees & Those Around the World

Good article in the Guardian, UK, titled America’s First Climate Refugees. (Scroll down for the text)

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Thomas Friedman has taken the bull by the horns and is on a documentary-making tour of the Middle East, making the case that climate change is changing the world, one person at a time, metastitizing into sect on sect carnage.

I came here to write my column and work on a film for the Showtime series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” about the “Jafaf,” or drought, one of the key drivers of the Syrian war. In an age of climate change, we’re likely to see many more such conflicts.

“The drought did not cause Syria’s civil war,” said the Syrian economist Samir Aita, but, he added, the failure of the government to respond to the drought played a huge role in fueling the uprising. What happened, Aita explained, was that after Assad took over in 2000 he opened up the regulated agricultural sector in Syria for big farmers, many of them government cronies, to buy up land and drill as much water as they wanted, eventually severely diminishing the water table. This began driving small farmers off the land into towns, where they had to scrounge for work.

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Oxfam, the long time anti-famine group is raising the specter of new threats

Durban climate talks must deliver action to prevent spiraling hunger

In the last year extreme weather events shocked global markets contributing to soaring wheat prices and imperiling food security in many parts of the world, according to research compiled by Oxfam at the start of the Durban climate talks.

This year could be a grim foretaste of what is to come as new warnings from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show extreme weather events are likely to increase in frequency and severity without action to tackle climate change.

“From the Horn of Africa and South East Asia to Russia and Afghanistan, a year of floods, droughts, and extreme heat has helped push tens of millions of people into hunger and poverty,” said Kelly Dent, Oxfam. “This will only get worse as climate change gathers pace and agriculture feels the heat. Governments must act now in Durban to protect our food supply and save millions from slipping into hunger and poverty.”

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