Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday March 19th, 2022/ Main Topic: How Global Warming Is Making Armed Conflict Worse

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: How Global Warming Is Making Armed Conflict Worse

Dear Diary. These days, do you ever get the feeling that we are living on boats circling around in a drain leading to an abyss, almost powerless to stay afloat? I do, but I’m not depressed over the situation, even though I grieve for the planet. In the third World of Thermo book I am writing, yes climate change leads to war, mainly over dwindling resources, most notably clean water. The Pentagon has known that more armed conflict is likely over this effect of global warming for decades.

Worsening armed conflict is yet one more reason to stop carbon pollution. Please make that argument for anyone on the fence about the subject.

This week in my Gmail in box the New York Times delivered a piece on armed conflict and the climate crisis, which I’d like to share today as our main subject, very much keeping Ukraine in mind.

NYTimes.com/Climate

March 18, 2022

By Somini Sengupta Global Correspondent, Climate

Ukrainian servicemen distributed water in Mariupol, near the Russian border in the country’s south, this month.Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press
If you’ve read the work of brave journalists in Mariupol this week, you know that the people of that city are trying to survive not just shelling by Russian forces. They are also trying to survive without water.
This is, unfortunately, a recurrent feature of war.
We witnessed it in Syria in 2016, for instance, when the residents of Aleppo, the northern city besieged by government forces, were deprived of running water. We saw it again the following year, when residents of the capital, Damascus, had their taps run dry as both sides in the war accused each other of damaging water infrastructure.
This is, unfortunately, a recurrent feature of war.
We witnessed it in Syria in 2016, for instance, when the residents of Aleppo, the northern city besieged by government forces, were deprived of running water. We saw it again the following year, when residents of the capital, Damascus, had their taps run dry as both sides in the war accused each other of damaging water infrastructure.
In 2018, clashes between rival groups destroyed water tanks at a hospital near the city of Hodeidah, in Yemen. In 2019, Al Shabab, an extremist group, blew up a water tank in Somalia.
These are documented in a logbook of human cruelty, published this week by an Oakland-based research group called the Pacific Institute. It’s called the Water Conflict Chronology, and it enumerates episodes throughout human history where access to water has triggered unrest or become a weapon of war. Sometimes water resources become what the report calls a “casualty” of conflict: Tankers are blown up, wells are poisoned.
Climate change can intensify the risks. A hotter planet often makes dry places drier and hotter, supercharging competition over an already-scarce resource. How much of a role climate change plays in each conflict is hard to know, and, most certainly, poor management and rising demand for water play a role equally if not more important.
But, said Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, who has studied water conflicts for decades, “climate change is unambiguously worsening the very conditions that contribute to water conflicts: drought, scarcity and inequities.”
Water conflicts have gone up sharply in the last 20 years, the study found. My colleagues have written about many of them. Farmers and herders have clashed in parts of Africa over access to water, conflicts all the more acute in a region that has suffered from abnormally bad droughts. Antigovernment protests have erupted in Iran over scarce water. Water-sharing has riven several former Soviet states of Central Asia that straddle the Amu Darya River.
Since 2000, Gleick pointed out, a fourth of the conflicts triggered by access to water have been in three water-scarce areas pummeled by global warming: the Middle East, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Separately, the United Nations University estimated that 19 countries in Africa with a total population of 500 million people face water insecurity. At the top of that list are three countries that are no strangers to conflict: Chad, Niger and Somalia. Most nations on the continent face higher levels of risk to extreme weather events, that study adds, as climate change makes them more frequent and more severe, outpacing the countries’ ability to adapt.
In wealthy countries, few places are feeling the impacts of climate change on the water supply as acutely as Gleick’s home state of California.
The long-running drought affecting the Western United States is likely to go on through this spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. As my colleague Maggie Astor reported, most of California is returning to “severe” or “extreme” drought after a brief respite over the winter. In Central California, the fruit and nut basket of the country, the three-year precipitation total is “likely to be the lowest since modern record-keeping began in 1922,” Maggie reported.

Transmission lines from a coal-fired Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in West Paducah, Ky.  Ryan Hermens/The Paducah Sun, via Associated Press
Essential news:
A huge investment in fossil fuels: The Tennessee Valley Authority, defying President Biden’s clean energy goals, plans to spend billions on gas-burning power plants.
The search continues for a bank cop: Biden withdrew his nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to be the Fed’s top bank regulator amid a backlash over her views on climate risks.
Is Russian oil still flowing? Ukrainian officials say tanker ships, including several chartered by U.S.-based companies, are continuing to transport oil from Russian ports.
A call to save energy: With a global crunch looming, the International Energy Agency called on countries to encourage conservation.
Activists flex their political muscle: Environmental groups want elected leaders to confront oil companies over high gas prices. Some Democrats seem to be listening.
What the war means for electric cars: The price of nickel, an essential ingredient in most batteries, has soared because of fears that Russian supplies could be cut off.
Inside the search for Endurance: More than a century after sinking in Antarctic waters, Ernest Shackleton’s ship was found with just days left in the expedition.
Other stuff we’re following:

Boys sold ice cream on the main road in Vila Mocotó, in northern Brazil, as smoke rose from a burn at a settler’s clearing. Joao Castellano for The New York Times
Before you go: The war for the rainforest
The Ituna-Itatá preserve in Brazil is a grim illustration of the intractable forces destroying the Amazon. It was meant to serve a dual purpose: slowing deforestation through broad restrictions on logging, ranching and mining, while simultaneously protecting Indigenous cultures. Instead, since the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, in 2018, it’s become one of the most invaded Indigenous territories in the country.

Here are some “ET’s” recorded over the last couple of days:

Here is some more February 2022 climatology:

Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid war on Ukraine:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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