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NRT: Climate change: War, disease, and famine

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 pm, March 18th, 2014 - 38 comments
Categories: climate change, food, global warming, health, science - Tags: ,

no-right-turn-256The original of this post is at No Right Turn.

What will climate change do to human civilisation? According to the IPCC, war, disease, and famine:

Climate change will displace hundreds of millions of people by the end of this century, increasing the risk of violent conflict and wiping trillions of dollars off the global economy, a forthcoming UN report will warn.

The second of three publications by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be made public at the end of this month, is the most comprehensive investigation into the impact of climate change ever undertaken. A draft of the final version seen by The Independent says the warming climate will place the world under enormous strain, forcing mass migration, especially in Asia, and increasing the risk of violent conflict.

Based on thousands of peer-reviewed studies and put together by hundreds of respected scientists, the report predicts that climate change will reduce median crop yields by 2 per cent per decade for the rest of the century – at a time of rapidly growing demand for food. This will in turn push up malnutrition in children by about a fifth, it predicts.

The report also forecasts that the warming climate will take its toll on human health, pushing up the number of intense heatwaves and fires and increasing the risk from food and water-borne diseases.

We can still stop this – but that would require radically decarbonising the global economy, bursting the carbon bubble and destroying the wealth of the global rich. And it appears that they’d rather destroy the world and be king of the ashes than see that happen.


38 comments on “NRT: Climate change: War, disease, and famine”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    I suggest we look at ways to strengthen the political and legal case for massive asset confiscation of the scum who’ve been profiting from the tsunami of lies on the subject.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      I suggest looking to the French Revolution for lessons that can be learned there. Most specifically, we want to prevent the re-emergence of the scum.

  2. lprent 2

    I was talking with an engineer about why I thought that climate change was likely to be an issue a few years ago. He was definitely sceptical, not so much about the science (anyone with half a brain for science knows what the causation is), but about the probable impacts.

    He was thinking mainly about sealevel rise and in particular the IPCC anticipated less than 1 metre rise over this century. I think that they’re conservative (as does every person I have ever read who has done any study in earth sciences or geology) but it is unlikely to be more than 5 metres. But what made him to start to rethink his views was the effect on food production.

    Most people don’t seem to realize just how reliant we are on the agricultural technology we have developed over ten thousand years. As the saying goes, there is no city that is more than a week from rioting, because that is how much food is held in any city. All of that technology is at its base highly reliant on the relatively stable climate we have had during that time. And the rest of our civilisation is precariously balanced on top of that.

    Engineers and scientists get that essential fragility. They’re accustomed to thinking about points of failure in any system. And we’re destroying the best asset our civilisation ever got – a stable climate for farming in. It isn’t something that has been common over the 3 million years or so that humans have been scuttling around looking for food.

    • Macro 2.1

      Perhaps you might refer him to this
      the current projections are now increasing to at least 1m possibly 2m by the end of the Century.
      And if the Greenland Ice sheet goes as looks increasingly likely we can expect even more sooner rather than later.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        There are some areas that the sealevel rise is going to make a hell of an impact on. The low country of western europe, Bangladesh, Florida, and even the Canterbury and Southland plains. But the numbers of people directly killed will be pretty low.

        The numbers who die of the loss of those agricultural areas from salinity incursions of ground water into the fertile plains will be quite a lot more.

        Besides, I’m picking something closer to 5 metres at mid-late century. The Greenland icesheets are pretty clearly melting bottom upwards from meltwater – essentially mass-wasting from density loss. I suspect that the West Antarctic ice sheet will go the same way because so much of it is below sealevel. It just takes some slighhtly warmer water to get in there. That melt pattern would certainly explain the rather abrupt changes in the geological record for the WAIS where it appears that that whole side of the continent went relatively ice free in a few hundred years.

        • Macro

          The hauraki plains here is also very vulnerable and is also an intensive dairy area .
          Chch is definitely under threat – some areas we lowered by around 30 cm following the earthquakes. One wonders at whether it wouldn’t be better to move the city at this stage. But not easy.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    A draft of the final version seen by The Independent says the warming climate will place the world under enormous strain, forcing mass migration, especially in Asia, and increasing the risk of violent conflict.

    Worked that one out years ago which is why I’ve been saying for years that NZ will be closing it’s borders and backing that up the sinking of any ship that tries to come here. We cannot support much more people than we already have here.

    • I bloody hate that attitude – you are just siding with the elite to save your own arse. The revolution idea is much better – how long before humanity realises that the scum holding our heads under water can be beaten and overturned – but there is fuck all time left. Some want this country to be a lifeboat for their bloated lifestyles and fictional righteousness – they need to understand the scenario described above has no lifeboats – just those who die early (dark and poor) and those that die later (everyone else) unless we change everything. Yep everything – start with yourself.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        I bloody hate that attitude – you are just siding with the elite to save your own arse.

        Nope. Just simple practical reality.

        Some want this country to be a lifeboat for their bloated lifestyles and fictional righteousness

        Nope. I don’t think anyone would be able to call my lifestyle bloated and I’m certainly not righteous.

        they need to understand the scenario described above has no lifeboats

        Pretty sure I was making that point. NZ can support the people here already – it can’t support the 100 million plus that we’d rapidly get if we allowed uncontrolled immigration once the climate makes living close the equator impossible.

        • Chooky


        • marty mars

          fuck your practical reality

          wasn’t just talking about you re your bloated lifestyle and fictional righteousness but what are you going to do? Stand on the headland and shoot refugees or get someone to do it for you?

          edit – same question to any of you like chooky – ready to kill eh mate? If not why not.

          100 million plus? What a fantasy, I’m sure you polish your weapon vigorously thinking about that scenario.

          • Draco T Bastard

            fuck your practical reality

            That’s certainly the easiest way to ensure we die out – as this article shows. It really is denial of reality that is the problem and you’re going hard at it.

            100 million plus? What a fantasy

            There’s 200+ million just in the OECD Pacific which is a subset of Asia. Then there’s Melanesia and the other Pacific islands. Not all of them will come here but Australia, as we’ve already seen, is going to be having problems themselves. 100 million coming here may be on the high side but is within the realm of possibility.

            • marty mars

              Aussie are getting drones to patrol – are you for that? I know you want increased defense spending – have you actually thought it through? Are you sure they won’t decide that you and your whānau aren’t rich enough or the right colour or religion. Wake up – your logical conclusion will not work. And the fact is the attitude displayed is part of the reason we have fucked up this planet in the first place – “this is mine keep away or I’ll kill you”. You talk about everyone together one big beige family yet you advocate locking the gates and telling others to fuck off – what about if you were on the other side of the gate? I say again – wake up!

              • Draco T Bastard

                It really is denial of reality that is the problem and you’re going hard at it.

                • Wake up quick the drones are here quick hide the kids oh know watch out watch out that dude on the hill has a lazer pointer on us…

          • RedLogix

            Well yes marty I agree100m seems like a bit over the top, but say 10,000 ships each carrying 10,000 desperate people is in the realms of the physically realisable.

            Not all at once, but over the period of a decade or so. Not too dissimilar to the hordes of Scots, Irish and poor English who made far more dangerous, desperate journeys in tiny wooden ships from the very far side of the planet during the 1840-60’s.

            If I recall right there was this paper treaty these refugees signed up to, and then promptly ignored. Later there were some minor rebellions and skirmishes in which the grass-skirted natives got thoroughly smashed up.

            • marty mars

              Oh dear red really? You and your whānau have created lives and loves in this place but no one else is allowed to. That mate is the height of hypocrisy. And you and I have been around this one before but tell me – how has your attitude changed (if it has) by being over in Oz. Do you think you’ll be allowed back in here if the gates were closed?

              • RedLogix

                You and your whānau have created lives and loves in this place but no one else is allowed to. That mate is the height of hypocrisy.

                I could be mean and challenge you on the hypocrisy of Maori characterising colonisation as a ‘holocaust’ or even having the temerity to grumble about their dispossession of their land and assets. But I’ll leave that as a hypothetical.

                On the one hand there is the right of a people to define their culture and their relationship to their land. This is an age-old human instinct.

                And there is the age-old custom of hospitality.

                And then there is just plain old invasion, marginalisation and ethnic extinction.

                Somehow we need to have a sane conversation about what all this means and how we should respond. Because I do understand what you are saying. But equally I’m certain that unrestrained migration to our shores would change this place, once again, beyond all recognition. And probably not for the better environmentally or socially.

                Or to put it another way, we’re still healing the wounds of the first several major waves of human colonisation to this land. How many more should we invite?

                • Chooky


                • Yes be mean as you like I’ve heard it all before usually because someone cannot front up to their own hypocrisy.

                  Your sane conversation is based upon your values, your parameters and your conclusions – this is common of course especially for those who want everything to stay the same (the way they like it) guess what red? Some and even quite a few don’t like the green and pleasant bullshit land that has been created.

                  It is straight out xenophobia imo because it is based on the old ‘hordes from asia’ lines which have been used since europeans first arrived. If they were ‘like us’ would you really have as much of an issue?

                  Edit: Thanks for the answer below – it really answers the questions within this comment.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    But you’re not having a sane conversation because you refuse to accept reality – NZ will not be able to support all the people who will try to make it here once climate change bites hard. You refuse to accept the limitations that our environment dictates.

                    We have to define how many people we can support at a reasonable living standard and prevent any increase in population over that.

                    Nothing to do with xenophobia (really, you’re starting to sound like a National supporter) and everything to do with basic physics.

                    • No draco it is you who cannot see the truth as you are in fear.

                      Firstly – the scenario above is entitled war, disease and famine. That is the world these millions will be in and do you think they’ll have the fuel, resources to hire/steal ocean liners to get to this place?
                      Secondly – you are assuming that it is all okay here anyway – it won’t be.
                      Thirdly – once you start deciding who will live or die as in ‘the lifeboat’ game (have you ever done that – Jim is a doctor we’ll need a doctor but he’s also a person who is cruel and divisive and a sociopath – hmm shall we keep him or chuck him overboard?) you are taking on a role that has no winners only losers. And whilst losing, your humanity or all the things that make you a decent human wash away as desperation and self preservation come to the fore.
                      Fourthly – you are assuming you will have a choice and not be one of the chosen. It will be extreme nasty people that will make decisions to keep the tiny battered groups arriving here offshore and out of sight so they can die quietly (very neo-lib) – you may be part of those groups but they may not want you to be.

                      Our privilege makes us think it will be other people that suffer not us, that we will decide who lives or dies and that we will be okay. This country can support as many people as need be and it will change as the world crumbles around – dreaming of maintaining everything the same is severe conservatism. So I’m not going to call you right-wing but I am saying you are a conservative – for what that is reread JMG.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That is the world these millions will be in and do you think they’ll have the fuel, resources to hire/steal ocean liners to get to this place?

                      They’ll use container ships not ocean liners and yes, desperate people will try and find ten or twenty thousand litres of diesel in the hope that it will get them here.

                      Thirdly – once you start deciding who will live or die as in ‘the lifeboat’ game

                      Unless you believe that NZ will lose its democracy, I believe that political parties which advocate tight controls and enforcement on attempted illegal immigration may indeed become very popular.

                      dreaming of maintaining everything the same is severe conservatism. So I’m not going to call you right-wing but I am saying you are a conservative – for what that is reread JMG.

                      NZers are by in large a conservative people. I suspect you already realise that. And each of those conservative minded individuals gets a vote on E-day for the party whose policies and leader they like the most.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      That is the world these millions will be in and do you think they’ll have the fuel, resources to hire/steal ocean liners to get to this place?

                      More than likely.

                      Secondly – you are assuming that it is all okay here anyway – it won’t be.
                      Thirdly – once you start deciding who will live or die

                      If it won’t be alright here then why are advocating making it worse?
                      As I said, you’re not talking sanely.

                      Fourthly – you are assuming you will have a choice and not be one of the chosen.

                      Actually, I’m assuming that we’ll be democratic about it and make decisions based upon those facts.

                      Our privilege makes us think it will be other people that suffer not us

                      Got nothing to do with privilege – just basic physical facts that we can’t change.

                      This country can support as many people as need be

                      No it can’t. It can only support however many that it can support. We don’t know what number is because we’ve never asked the question. Instead we’ve only ever assumed that it can always hold more which is delusional.

                      So I’m not going to call you right-wing but I am saying you are a conservative

                      If you think that then you’ve never understood what I’ve written.

              • RedLogix

                I should answer your questions.

                And you and I have been around this one before but tell me – how has your attitude changed (if it has) by being over in Oz.

                It’s plain from the ‘boat people’ issue in the NT that this kind of challenge has no good solutions. There is doubt that the human trafficking that is at the root of this is an evil trade. No country wants to be part of that.

                And after spending an entire election campaign where they couldn’t shut-up about the boat people issue, now they are in power they’ve treating it with intense secrecy – on the principle of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. So far it’s working for Abbot. Not so great for the refugees and the violence and abuse that is going on out of sight.

                Where I am in Ballarat is still mostly white. People like it that way, the place is generally very friendly, laid-back and a lot less ‘stressed’ than living in NZ in some ways. We’ve found it remarkably easier to make friends and ‘fit in’. In a candidly selfish fashion it’s made for a pleasant change of atmosphere. No doubt as you do when you spend a week on a marae in your own cultural space.

                But that isn’t true of Australia as a whole.

                There remains an evolving relationship with the ‘traditional owners’. While there will always be the overt and noxiously racist underbelly in other ways the Aboriginal people as a whole seem to get more respect than Maori do in New Zealand. But then again I’ve been too busy to have anything other than the most superficial impression.

                And as far as I know Melbourne has become a deeply divided city, with distinct ethnic ghettos. There is no question that many Australians are still grappling with the very rapid rate of ethnic change that has occurred in recent decades.

                Do you think you’ll be allowed back in here if the gates were closed?

                In practical terms we’ll be back before that is likely. But you raise a good question. There are some 620,000 kiwi guest workers over here and eventually most of them have to return to NZ. How that’s going to play out is anyone’s guess.

                Having that many ‘stateless’ kiwis stranded on the wrong side of the Tasman would be ugly to say the least.

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      If it gets as bad as you say, we’ll be invaded anyway, possibly by the Americans. Aotearoa will be set up as a climate refuge for Wall St bankers and other assorted scum. They might let you live to empty the night soil cart, although they’re more likely to give those esteemed positions to people they know they can trust, like mid level NAct cabinet ministers. They’ll bring in their own people for security, probably whatever Blackwater will be calling itself by then.

      As much as you and Chooky offer your services scanning the horizon with binoculars, you’ll be surplus to requirements. Sorry about that.

      • Chooky 3.2.2

        @ Murray Olsen….ha ha…hadnt thought of that! ….must go out and buy some binoculars!..i guess i need to make some sort of reply here:

        1)….i do think we have a duty of care to Pacific Islanders whose islands sink…( but then a lot of NZ will also sink)

        2)….i dont have much sympathy for mass immigration from huge overpopulated countries in this day and age of contraception….because it usually means the women are oppressed …no education or self-determination ( NZ has a proud culture and record of womens’ rights…and we are half the population , remember !…China has an excess of 20 million males?)

        3)….i dont have much sympathy for countries which have trashed their own environments through exploitation, pollution, contamination , exhaustion through overpopulation…( New Zealand Maori have a proud tradition of cherishing and conserving their environment….and although NACT and Neolib politics have undermined it in recent years …it still remains a NZ cultural eco-value and spirituality principle …which would be violated by mass immigration)

        4.)… i know old idealistic Trotskyists used to advocate completely open immigration as a precursor to a one world revolution ….but frankly i dont think it is a vote winner…( just as Roger Douglas’s completely open marketplace was not a winner)….nor is it the best solution to mass would be immigration due to global warming…far better to tackle the reasons for mass would be immigration problems at source and in the countries of source

        5)…ie the world has to tackle global poverty , imperialist/capitalist exploitation of poorer countries ….and especially global warming smartly, especially the wealthy countries…then there will be no need for mass immigration and disruption

        6)…. needless to add…i dont favour mass immigration of American bankers …or other Americans who are seeking to escape the problems THEY have created in their own country

        ( now i really must go and do some work!)

  4. Philj 4

    “Climate refuge for Wall Street bankers? ”
    It has already become that. Lots of wealthy Americans have moved to shit Creek.

  5. vto 5

    humanity through history had little to do with humanity

    more with survival

    why would this change now?

    expect the worst


  6. ExKiwiforces 6

    Get your hands on this wee gem of a book called:

    Out of the Mountains, The coming of age of the Urban Guerrilla. By David Kilcullen.

    Mentions a lot of the stuff that NRT has already mention plus a lot more stuff like so free trade agreement’s etc . I hate to be a small country like New Zealand when TPP kicks in because the big counties are going to rule and along with their the big end of town is going to screw everyone incl the so called NZ elite.

    BTW Marty Mars, the ADF does not have any ARMED UAV’s in service!
    The only ones that are service or about to enter service are:
    Triton BAMS, going to used by RAAF’s 92 Wing
    Heron, in service with 5 Flight, RAAF
    Skylark, in service with the Army
    Scan Eagle, was used by the Army in the Gan and looks like it will used by the RAN or Customs.

    I was reading today that the Senior Service aka Royal New Zealand Navy is looking at putting UAVs on to its Otago Class OPV’s (The one’s that Labour brought and are 200 tons over weight). The systems they are looking are the Kahu made in good old New Zealand or an overseas built UAV like Scan Eagle.

    • Chooky 6.1

      I would love to get hold of and read that book….but the GCSB might get on to me

      Paranoid Chooky

  7. ExKiwiforces 7

    My dear Chooky, you should be safe from the green slime as I picked up my copy from Dymocks in Darwin. I did see the book at the following Bookshops in NZ last week at Page & Blackmore in Nelson and at Scorpio Books in Christchurch.

  8. Chooky 8

    Oh Thankyou….Scorpio Books does need another visit…..i really am a would be writer ( a failed Chooky-lit romance writer )… I think war books and thrillers are more me……. (and I would love to be a soldier in my next incarnation….but I think maybe one that works with dynamite and is a guerrilla fighter…i dont fancy the front lines ….but the future looks like all drones and computers …which is not at all heroic!….so I may have to reincarnate backwards rather than forwards…?) ….

  9. exkiwiforces 9


    Yes warfare in the future is going to be all about robots, drones and computers etc. But scary thing is the advancement cyber warfare and the future use of chemical and biological warfare by State nations and more importantly Non State organizations. But you over come this type of warfare by training in good old fashion basic soldier skills sets, which todays modern soldier finds hard to do today when you have the gadgets/ widgets etc to the job at hand. I train my group the old fashion way and use the technology as an aid to get the job done because you don’t aways technology with you even in the Gan I still relied on my human senses and old school soldiering is very important for peacekeeping duties.

    You may find David kilcullens other books to be a good read as well.
    The Accidental Guerrilla, Fighting small wars in the midst of a big one.

    • Chooky 9.1

      Thankyou yes!….I will look out for them and maybe give them to my son as a present ( after I have read them myself) … he is a bit of a military historian…and once thought of joining the army…..now he wants to be a writer

      • ExKiwiforces 9.1.1

        No worries Chooky, I’m glad to be of some help to you. Your son should have a look at the joining the Army Reserves/ TF whatever they call themselves now.

  10. I read a fantastic article the other day about being able to be environmentally friendly while living off the grid. With your own storage for energy and water, untapped by the capitalist companies… Seems like there are some conspiracy theories going on about why we can’t get away from this – “And it appears that they’d rather destroy the world and be king of the ashes than see that happen.”

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    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago