The theme for the Second Session of the Babcock International Model United Nations Conference is Addressing Climate Change-Induced Conflict: A Roadmap for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

As the UN continues towards the achievement of the 2030 development agenda, issues of climate change, conflict and sustainable development continue to be on the minds and lips of both state and non-state actors in the international political arena, and the consensus of climate scientists on the probable harmful effects of climate change and the need for climate adaptation has grown stronger in recent years. However, knowledge about the potential links between climate change and conflict, as well as the appropriate climate adaptation measures to prevent or mitigate conflict, remains limited and underdeveloped.

Climate change, over the years, has been proven to not only cause ecological disasters but also political disasters. Agricultural economist Marshall Burke of the University of California, Berkeley and his colleagues have analyzed the history of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa between 1980 and 2002 in a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We find that civil wars were much more likely to happen in warmer-than-average years, with one degree Celsius warmer temperatures in a given year associated with a 50 percent higher likelihood of conflict in that year,” Burke says. The implication: because average temperatures may warm by at least one degree C by 2030, “climate change could increase the incidences of African civil war by 55 percent by 2030, and this could result in about 390,000 additional battle deaths if future wars are as deadly as recent wars. From this, the strong link between temperature increases and conflict risk can be seen. But what interventions will make climate-induced conflict less likely?

Climate change-induced conflicts have far-reaching effects than can be ever envisaged. Evidence of climate change-induced conflict exists in Uganda, Kenya and Sudan. Climate change-induced conflicts have affected human security, food security, human health and have even contributed to migration. While some climate changes are inevitable, it is also important to note that projections of future climate depend on assumptions of greenhouse gas emissions, and these assumptions also vary greatly depending on socio-economic development and policy changes. At BIMUN’18, we look forward to fruitful discourses that will birth ideas and policies that could curtail current climate change-induced conflicts, prevent recurrence of old conflicts and occurrence of new conflicts.

BIMUN’18 looks forward to playing her role in fulfillment of Goal 13: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy”, as curtailing the extent of climate change and its induced conflicts will go a long way in hastening the attainment of some of the 17 Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

As seen by a BIMUN18 delegate France, France is of the opinion that there are legitimate concerns that climate change may threaten livelihoods, food security, water security, and marine resources in ways that are interrelated. In other words, changes in precipitation patterns resulting in droughts or floods, have the potential to reduce or even decimate agricultural production. The globalized nature of food production and consumption means that severe weather events could limit food production in a number of countries simultaneously and trigger a series of events that undermine food security across the globe. In areas subject to drought, climate change may create intense competition for scarce water resources. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), increasing water temperatures already are harming aquatic plants and changing the distribution of fish species. UN reports note that Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Yemen all experienced bad floods in 2016 while Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria all suffered bad droughts.

Dr. Vesselin Popovski, Senior Academic Programme Officer and head of the United Nations University Institute of Sustainability and Peace’s Peace and Security Section, argues that there is an indirect link between climate change and conflict. “There is no doubt that impoverishment and human insecurity may arise as a result of climate change, if preventive measures are not undertaken. However, there is missing evidence that global warming directly increases conflict.”

While it is generally agreed that environmental factors, including climate change, can be contributing factors to conflict, the underlying political, economic, social, and cultural context has a stronger and more direct causal relationship.  Hence, climate change is best thought of as an aggravating factor or trigger in places where some of the characteristic ingredients for conflict already exist. Weak, corrupt, fragile, or failed governments are nearly ubiquitous critical factors. Many of the countries predicted to be worst affected by climate change are plagued by poor governance and social and political instability.

Some western governments are concerned that these conditions will create an unstable world and may lead to a subsequent rise in terrorist activity.

As review by the delegate of Israel, Israel believes that climate change is inevitable and these governments and organizations are only wasting precious time and millions of tax payers monies on projects that they deem will fail over the cause of time. A major cause to climate change is bush burning (forest fires). The interesting and fascinating yet devastating reality about bush burning (forest fires) is that both have the tendency of being started by human activities or by nature. In the news recently was the Thomas fire in the state of California. This forest fire was reported by CNN on 12th  December 2017 and destroyed 273,400 acres of land the largest forest fires ever recorded, this a is clear indication that greenhouse gases is taking its toll on the world. The fact is climate change is real and is seen through unexplained earthquakes and landslides, the increase in sea levels due to the dropping of atmospheric temperature. The world has taken its stand, efforts are been made, the S.D.G is our solution.

Delegates, let’s play a role in creating the much-needed change, shall we?

By: Taiwo Olawehinmi

       Abimbola Oluwafunto