Water wars: Are India and Pakistan heading for climate change-induced conflict?

Water wars: Are India and Pakistan heading for climate change-induced conflict?

SOURCE: Deutsche Welle DATE: January 25, 2019 SNIP: Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just some of the places where climate change is increasingly regarded as a root cause of violent conflict. But while much of the focus on climate change-attributed conflict has predominantly been on Africa and the Middle East, a potentially even deadlier clash over resources may be looming on the horizon in Asia. That’s because India and Pakistan — bitter rivals over water — both have nuclear weapons in their arsenal. The two countries have a long but strained agreement over sharing water from the Indus River and its tributaries. Waters from the Indus, which flow from India and the disputed Kashmir region into Pakistan, were carved up between India and Pakistan under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT). The dispute over the Kashmir region — a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than six decades — is hugely intertwined with water security. Both countries claim the whole region, but each only controls a part of it. While the IWT has managed to survive the wars and other hostilities, it is increasingly being strained to its limit. Pakistan has accused India of throttling its water supply and violating the IWT by constructing dams over the rivers flowing into Pakistan from Kashmir. A 2018 report from the International Monetary Fund ranked Pakistan third among countries facing severe water shortages. When the rapidly-melting glaciers in the Himalayas, which feed the Indus waters, eventually disappear as predicted, the dwindling rivers will be slashed even...
Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Pattern

Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Pattern

SOURCE: New York Times and LA Times DATE: January 18, 2018 SNIP: Nigeria. Syria. Somalia. And now Iran. In each country, in different ways, a water crisis has triggered some combination of civil unrest, mass migration, insurgency or even full-scale war. In the era of climate change, their experiences hold lessons for a great many other countries. The World Resources Institute warned this month of the rise of water stress globally, “with 33 countries projected to face extremely high stress in 2040.” Iran is the latest example of a country where a water crisis, long in the making, has fed popular discontent. That is particularly true in small towns and cities in what is already one of the most parched regions of the world. Climate change is projected to make Iran hotter and drier. A former Iranian agriculture minister, Issa Kalantari, once famously said that water scarcity, if left unchecked, would make Iran so harsh that 50 million Iranians would leave the country altogether. Water alone doesn’t explain the outbreak of protests that began in early January and spread swiftly across the country. But as David Michel, an analyst at the Stimson Center put it, the lack of water — whether it’s dry taps in the city, or dry wells in the countryside, or dust storms rising from a shrinking Lake Urmia (pictured) — is one of the most common, most visible markers of the government’s failure to deliver basic services. “Water is not going to bring down the government,” he said. “But it’s a component — in some towns, a significant component — of grievances and...
How climate change could lead to more wars in the 21st century

How climate change could lead to more wars in the 21st century

SOURCE: Vox and Environmental Justice Foundation DATE: November 14, 2017 SNIP: “My belief is that we will see a renaissance of violent conflict in the 21st century, and that many of these conflicts will spring from climate change. It’s hard to predict the rate of decline or where or when conflicts will emerge, but we can say with some confidence that climate change will render huge parts of the world less hospitable to human beings, and that as a consequence, humans will have to change how and where they live. These sorts of changes will produce tensions among groups of people struggling to adapt to a new environment. Again, that’s why I see climate as a fundamental driver of conflict in this century.” — Harald...