Friday, August 19, 2011

Backdraft: Minimizing Conflict in Climate Change Responses

“What are the conflicts or risks associated with response to climate change?” asked ECSP Director Geoff Dabelko at the Wilson Center on July 18.  

“How we respond to climate change may or may not contribute to conflict,” he said, but “at the end of the day, we need to do no harm.”

Dabelko was joined by Christian Webersik, associate professor at the University of Agder, Norway, and Dennis Taenzler, senior project manager at adelphi, to discuss how responses to climate change may lead to new conflict. As we think about adopting biofuels, solar and nuclear energy options, and geoengineering, “we have to do it with our eyes open,” Dabelko said.

The Ripple Effects of Climate Change

We are “both the victims and agents” of climate change, Webersik said. We are affected by it, but we are also responding to it, through adaptation and mitigation efforts, geoengineering proposals, and emissions avoidance. “These strategies themselves have ripple-on effects,” he said. For example, the fuel-food crisis in 2008, in which higher demand for biofuels led to more competition over arable land and increases in food prices, contributed to riots and political instability in some places. More >>>