In sub-Saharan Africa, hundreds of millions of already vulnerable persons will be exposed to intensified threat of death by disease, malnutrition, and strife. Natural causes such as long-term drought will play a major role, but political factors either will exacerbate these disasters or may even precipitate them as the result of a mix of mismanagement and miscalculated policy. Such was the case in Ethiopia during the rule of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam. The ongoing genocide in Darfur may have begun as a consequence of water scarcity, as noted elsewhere in this report.
Under conditions of severe global climate change environmental factors will push already failed states deeper into the abyss, while driving other states toward the brink. The stronger regional states, such as South Africa, will be affected not only by internal social and economic stress related to changing climatic patterns but also by southward flows of refugees hoping for rescue and safety.
Contemporary Africa aspires to be a unified system but falls far short. Severe climate change would, in a grim way, provide for the first time the missing element of connectivity. From one end of the African continent to the other, severe climate change will become the common denominator of turbulence and destruction.
Was this article helpful?