President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, says climate change is already exacerbating domestic and international conflicts, and governments must take steps to ensure it does not get worse. Photo: Florent Vergnes / AFP / Getty Images

By Helen Davidson
21 October 2018

(The Guardian) – Climate change is already exacerbating domestic and international conflicts, and governments must take steps to ensure it does not get worse, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross has said.

Peter Maurer told Guardian Australia it was already making an impact and humanitarian organisations were having to factor it into their work far earlier than they were expecting.

“In many parts of the world where we work it’s not a distant engagement,” he said.

“When I think about our engagement in sub-Saharan Africa, in Somalia, in other places of the world, I see that climate change has already had a massive impact on population movement, on fertility of land. It’s moving the border between pastoralist and agriculturalist.”

Maurer, who was in Australia to speak about the changing nature of modern conflict, said concern about the impact of climate change in the Pacific was “enormous”.

He said changing rainfall patterns change the fertility of land and push populations, who may have settled and subsisted in one area for centuries, to migrate.

“It’s very obvious that some of the violence that we are observing … is directly linked to the impact of climate change and changing rainfall patterns.” […]

A 2016 study, which examined three decades of data, determined that a 1C rise in temperatures in a country reliant on agriculture correlated with a 5% increase in migration to other countries. [more]

Climate change is exacerbating world conflicts, says Red Cross president

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