Whether or not climate change " helped spark" the unjust war against Syria by external forces taking advantage of local tensions or not, it has exacerbated the appalling problems the war has created.
All wars are resource wars and the M.E. will be confronted with the West continuing to attempt to control the regions resources be those fossil fuels, water,productive land or hard working people.
(yeah I know, when did they ever worry about the U.N.).
Deforestation will continue to make the M.E. a drier, more arid region making Syria's fertile plains and valleys another target for imperialist intentions. Never underestimate the issue of A.C.C.in wars,it will soon become the norm as our global habitat dies away.
Did climate change help spark the Syrian war?
2 March, 2015
A new study says a record drought that ravaged Syria in 2006-2010 was likely stoked by ongoing manmade climate change, and that the drought may have helped propel the 2011 Syrian uprising. Researchers say the drought, the worst ever recorded in the region, destroyed agriculture in the breadbasket region of northern Syria, driving dispossessed farmers to cities, where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created unrest that exploded in spring 2011. The conflict has since evolved into a complex multinational war that has killed at least 200,000 people and displaced millions. The study appears today in the leading journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"We're not saying the drought caused the war," said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who coauthored the study. "We're saying that added to all the other stressors, it helped kick things over the threshold into open conflict. And a drought of that severity was made much more likely by the ongoing human-driven drying of that region."
A growing body of research suggests that extreme weather, including high temperatures and droughts, increases the chances of violence, from individual attacks to full-scale wars. Some researchers project that manmade global warming will heighten future conflicts, or argue that it may already be doing so.
And recent journalistic accounts and other reports have linked warfare in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in part to environmental issues, especially lack of water. The new study, combining climate, social and economic data, is perhaps the first to look closely and quantitatively at these questions in relation to a current war.
The recent drought affected the so-called Fertile Crescent, spanning parts of Turkey and much of Syria and Iraq, where agriculture and animal herding are believed to have started some 12,000 years ago. The region has always seen natural weather swings. But using existing studies and their own research, the authors showed that since 1900, the area has undergone warming of 1 to 1.2 degrees Centigrade (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit), and about a 10 percent reduction in wet-season precipitation. They showed that the trend matches neatly with models of human-influenced global warming, and thus cannot be attributed to natural variability.
An estimated 1.5 million people fled Syria's drought-stricken areas, many of them to the peripheries of cities already swollen by refugees from the next-door war in Iraq. Credit: Stephen Starr/IRIN
Global warming has had two effects, they say. First, it appears to have indirectly weakened wind patterns that bring rain-laden air from the Mediterranean, reducing precipitation during the usual November-April wet season. Second, higher temperatures have increased evaporation of moisture from soils during the usually hot summers, giving any dry year a one-two punch. The region saw substantial droughts in the 1950s, 1980s and 1990s. However, 2006-10 was easily the worst and longest since reliable recordkeeping began. The researchers concluded that an episode of this severity and length would have been unlikely without the long-term changes.
Other researchers have observed the long-term drying trend across the entire Mediterranean, and attributed at least part of it to manmade warming; this includes an earlier study from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted that the already violent Mideast will dry more in coming decades as human-induced warming proceeds.
The study's authors say Syria was made especially vulnerable by other factors, including sheer population growth—from 4 million in the 1950s to 22 million in recent years. Also, the ruling al-Assad family encouraged water-intensive export crops like cotton. Illegal drilling of irrigation wells dramatically depleted groundwater that might have provided reserves during dry years, said coauthor Shahrzad Mohtadi, a graduate student at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs who did the economic and social components of the research.
The drought's effects were immediate. Agricultural production, typically a quarter of the country's gross domestic product, plummeted by a third. In the hard-hit northeast, livestock herds were practically all obliterated; cereal prices doubled; and nutrition-related diseases among children saw dramatic increases. As many as 1.5 million people fled from the countryside to the peripheries of cities that were already strained by influxes of refugees from the ongoing war in next-door Iraq. In these chaotic instant suburbs, the Assad regime did little to help people with employment or services, said Mohtadi. It was largely in these areas that the uprising began.
"Rapid demographic change encourages instability," say the authors. "Whether it was a primary or substantial factor is impossible to know, but drought can lead to devastating consequences when coupled with preexisting acute vulnerability."
Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley who studies climate and conflict, said the study is "the first scientific paper to make the case that human-caused climate change is already altering the risk of large-scale social unrest and violence." Hsiang said this is not the first time the region has faced the issue: research by other scientists has suggested that the Akkadian Empire, spanning much of the Fertile Crescent about 4,200 years ago, likely collapsed during a multi-year drought.
Marshall Burke, an environmental scientist at Stanford University who studies climate and agriculture, said, "There were many things going on in the region and world at that time, such as high global food prices and the beginning of the Arab Spring, that could have also increased the likelihood of civil conflict." But, he said, the study is "consistent with a large body of statistical evidence linking changes in climate to conflict."
The study's lead author is climatologist Colin Kelley, who did the work while working on his PhD. at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; he is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was also coauthored by climate scientists Mark Cane and Yochanan Kushnir, also of Lamont-Doherty.
Explore further: Is climate change fuelling war?
More information: Climate Change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1421533112
Journal reference: news infobox // Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
"NATO and the United States should change their policy because the time when they dictate their conditions to the world has passed," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Dushanbe, capital of the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan
Egypt faces power cuts, potential drought
9 Septgember, 2014
Despite the need to store extra water from this year’s floods to activate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in September 2015, the Egyptian government had to discharge extra amounts of water — other than the amount that is released from the Aswan Dam on a daily basis — to generate more hydroelectric power to solve the power cut crises. The Renaissance Dam, on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, is expected to become the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa and will have direct consequences on Egypt and Sudan.
According to Hossam el-Moghazy, the Egyptian minister of water resources and irrigation, the Aswan Dam committee has discharged 10 million cubic meters (353 million cubic feet) from the Nile per day, for 10 days, to produce more hydroelectric energy.
In a news conference organized by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Moghazy said that the emission of this amount of water from storage in Lake Nasser, which is considered strategic, occurred at a time when Egypt is struggling with drought and in terrible need to store every possible drop. “This is the cost of the terrorist acts committed by the extremist groups that bombed and destroyed electricity stations and towers, which led to long power cuts and the disruption of indispensable facilities,” Moghazy explained.
“We are sorry, but there was an electricity crisis. The emission of extra water for 10 days helped in solving this crisis by contributing to the production of hydroelectric power. There was significant improvement and the officials in the Ministry of Electricity overcame the crisis,” Moghazy said.
In a phone interview with Al-Monitor, former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Nasr Eldin Allam criticized the government for wasting such amounts of water from the vital storage point in Lake Nasser, while the country is on the verge of a water crisis in the coming year, in addition to the scheduled activation of the first phase of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
“When I was minister of irrigation, I prevented using the water of floodings to cleanse the Nile in addition to preventing any drop from the Nile from reaching the Mediterranean, despite its importance," Allam said. "All of this was to preserve every drop of water in anticipation of droughts, so Egyptians would never be thirsty.
“As minister of irrigation, I had to discharge certain amounts of water from Lake Nasser to solve urgent electricity crises. However, this would be done according to certain restrictions by storing the discharged water behind al-Qanater, Esna, Nag Hammadi and Asyut along the Nile, to reuse the water after having solved an electricity crisis, with the purpose of preserving the Lake Nasser storage. This is why the government is not doing the right thing right now.”
The scheduled activation of the Egyptian Renaissance Dam in September 2015 requires Egypt to store enough water from current flooding to avoid a severe water crisis. The first phase of the activation will have a major effect on electricity shortages at the Aswan Dam and it would be difficult to activate a number of its stations.
Mohamed Abdel Aty, former head of Nile water at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, revealed this in an interview with Al-Monitor. He also confirmed the inevitability of Egypt heading toward serious negotiations with the Ethiopian government to pursue the electricity-linkage project between the two countries and Sudan.
Abdel Aty said that this electricity-linkage project between Egypt and Ethiopia, in partnership with Sudan, will be much more important for Ethiopians since Ethiopia would be able to benefit from Egypt’s power-generating stations during the Nile’s drought period, while Egypt would be able to use the electricity surplus from the Ethiopian Reconnaissance Dam.
When asked about his opinion concerning the current amount of water discharged from the Aswan Dam to solve the electricity crisis, Abdel Aty explained that the purpose of this was not limited to increasing hydroelectric power generation, but it was also to cleanse the Nile from pollution. This cleanse also included the highly polluted Rosetta and Damietta branch rivers since the ministry stopped water emission to reduce pollution years ago, because of the water shortage.
“The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the Aswan Dam committee are capable of returning this amount of water back to Lake Nasser in the next month by reducing the daily discharge and storing larger amounts from flooding into the lake,” Abdel Aty said.
Haitham Awad, a professor of irrigation engineering and water hydraulics at the University of Alexandria, spoke to Al-Monitor concerning the Egyptian-Ethiopian electricity-linkage project. “The electricity-linkage project with Ethiopia will be beneficial for both parties. According to published studies, the power to activate the Renaissance Dam is for less than six hours per day and its efficiency is less than 30%," Awad said. "This is why Ethiopia needs alternative energy, which is available in Egypt since the country only relies on the hydroelectric power from the Aswan Dam 10% [of the time], while 90% of the time it uses thermal stations to generate electricity.
“Electricity exchange between the two countries is highly possible. The Renaissance Dam covers the electricity shortage in Egypt during rush hours, while Ethiopia regains electricity during the dam’s pause and during drought periods when there is no water to activate the dam,” Awad said.
Cairo is facing an electricity shortage, and its power cuts are lasting longer. The solutions for this crisis might result in more dangerous problems in the future. Egyptians will suffer darkness and drought in case there are no serious procedures to face the crisis of activating the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the water shortage it could cause in Egypt. This would eventually lead to a deficiency in the Aswan Dam’s electricity production, the first phase of which would reach 14 billion cubic meters (494 billion cubic feet) of water from the Nile, to be stored in the new dam in September, ultimately reaching 74 billion cubic meters (2,613 billion cubic feet) by the time the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is fully activated.
10 February, 2014
The movie talks about Palestinian agriculture in the Jordan Valley. Nowadays most of the agriculture in the area is cultivated by illegal Israeli settlers who appropriated land and water from Palestinian farmers. Having limited access to water Palestinian farmers are forced to change their traditional agricultural practices or even leave their original places of living in search of better life.