Thursday, 1 September 2011

Green Helmets (Not Green Berets) to Fight Strife Due to Climate Change?

The story's apparently been around for a while, but I just came across it today when Le Devoir ran a front page item about how the UN may soon be sending "hreen helmets" into areas where climate change has led to strife. They would complement or replace the "blue helmets" which have become associated with UN peacekeeping forces.

I have no idea whether the force would be any more effective than the traditional ones--and the passing of Gil Courtemanche mentioned here yesterday is a reminder of the nearly total failure of UN forces to protect Tutsis form Hutus in Rwanda. But it is telling that climate change is showing up as part of the big picture of world wide strife.

This week also saw the publication of a paper in Nature by Kyle Meng, detailing the close correlation between El Niño and tropical civil wars. "The warmer, drier conditions of El Nino have had a baleful effect on conflict in the tropics since 1950," the study says. While "correlation without explanation can only lead to speculation," according to Halvard Buhaug of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, the increasing frequency and severity of El Niños do not augur well for peace and prosperity in the decades to come.

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