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Development and Global Warming


By Rutagengwa Claude Shema

Regional Coordinator

Great Lakes Peace Initiative (GLPI)



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Global warming is a well-documented scientific fact. It is also widely
accepted that it is caused by human influence, mainly through green
house emission from industrialized countries, cutting down of rain forest
and mismanagement of soil and nature in general.

(see e.g. <> ,
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The consequences of the manmade climate changes are, seen in a perspective
of 100 years (just a couple of generations), dramatic and may forever
change living conditions for future generations (see e.g.

These consequences are of geographical (melting down of ice deposits
and higher sea levels, desert expansion, etc), meteorological
(hurricanes, drought, fires, floods, heath, etc), medical (infestation, pandemics,
malaria spreading, etc), biological and biodiversity (the extinction of
species at a rate never witnessed in newer time), demographical (people
moving away from areas due to lack of drinking water, extreme drought
and heath), techno-social (use of technology to protect / compensate for
climate change), and religious/moral (do we have the right to destroy
the nature of this planet ?).

The parties in the conflict are ultimately:
-       Our generation vs unborn generation's right to live on planet

Does the conflict parties both have a valid and legitimate claim to
qualify for a both-and solution ? While unborn man probably does not have
any legal claim (maybe they should have had?), we assert that mankind
holds a deep moral duty to live sustainable. Hence, our generation does
not have a right to excessively exploit and destroy nature on the cost
of coming generation. Seeking a both-and solution here can be
problematic and this implication must be recognized in the conflict analysis.

Conflict prognosis:

The prognosis is massive and on so many levels and dimensions. Hence we
have limited ourselves to some major issues that could result in
large-scale outbreak of violence. In general, it may seem that many existing
conflicts could worsen due to global warming impact and result in more

1.      Rich world vs poor world: Continued global warming leads to
more desert expansion, drought, higher sea levels and hits the African
continent very hard, setting back further the continent strive for
development and decent living conditions. Increasingly, poor countries blame
rich ones for causing misery and not doing enough to reduce emissions. A
widespread resentment and polarization evolve and results in more
violent conflicts at all level, including massive terrorist attacks. The
rich world implements more strict immigration control, more police, more
military presence to protect its citizens, etc.

2.      The prospering economies of China and India results in large
increase of energy consumption to sustain higher living standards and
further growth. China and India both claim their right to development and
will not accept to reduce own energy consumption, unless western world
take a much higher burden. Many resent the interference and hypocrisy
of Western environmentalists, who have all the benefits and comforts of
industrialization. A large-scale polarization between old and new world
starts resulting in arms race and a new cold war period.

3.      Scarcity of drinking water. It is predicted that the climate
changes will result in reduction or lack of drinking water for a huge
parts of the human population. Millions and millions of people become
"environmental refugees", desperately seeking for a new home. Those in
better position want to protect their land and it turns into escalating
violence many places.   

During the group session, one of us turned ill and had a dream which in
a good way summarizes our prognosis:

"In the year 2015, more than one hundred million people were killed by
various phenomena supposedly caused by global warming especially in
Africa and other poor countries. By that year the second cold war, between
the rich world and the poor world, had started. Both sides quickly
began criticizing the other as for the responsibility of the catastrophe.
Many talks and negotiations were held in the UN, but all in vain. No
positive cooperation and mutual endeavor came out of it. Only feeling of
fear and hate towards the other remained on both sides and increased
very rapidly.

On April 1, 2020, a so-called mini-nuke was exploded at the center of
the rich world. No evidence was made clear as to why and how. This was
the third time the atomic bomb had ever exploded on human beings. More
than a million people evaporated instantaneously and many more suffered
severely. As can easily be imagined, in a few months after this
horrible event, started a nuclear war. Dozens of nuclear bombs launched from
both sides exploded on earth. The earth itself was killed. There was no
possibility for human beings to survive, for no rational reasoning was
found alive."

Conflict therapy

Despite the gloomy outlook, this conflict also carries a potential for
fundamental change, a transcendence of all humanity. Being faced with a
crisis of unprecedented dimensions and fatal prognosis, humanity
realizes it must live differently; according to living standards and morality
that can sustain our planet. Imagine our communities of faith brought
together to save and protect the creation of their respective God(s).
Imagine all G8 and other powers supporting UN and/or other organizational
structures to coordinate on global scale all efforts to reduce
emissions and pollution and help saving lives instead of developing destructive
weaponry. Imagine our military forces converted into environmental
protection warriors. Imagine our best scientists and advanced technology of
US, EU, Japan, Korea and Russia working to save our planet from the
enormous threats posed by man-created actions, rather than yet more
consumer goods. Imagine that the rich world comes to realize that our Earth
cannot sustain their living standards and their growing energy
consumption (at least not using conventional technology). And imagine that all
of humanity realizes that there is a direct and visible consequence of
our behavior at micro, meso, macro and mega level !

With this vision the therapy should address all levels and in

1.      All concerned parties and countries must sign and implement
Kyoto and/or other related treaties.

2.      Imminent dialogue between poor and rich countries about the
issue of global warming.

3.      Effective cooperation between rich and poor countries, through
a strengthened and re-aligned UN as well as other organizations.

4.      Technology exchange among industrialized and non-industrialized
countries in terms of protecting the earth.

5.      Invest in new technology development on renewable energy, oil
and gas exporting countries commitment to fund large-scale programmes.

6.      Effective awareness of global warming issues and its impact on
all levels.

7.      Initiate dialogues between major communities of faith, focus on
what unites them rather than differences.

8.      Intensive environmental education and advocacy. Educate also
parents, create programmes in kindergardens, schools, universities, etc.!

9.      Each one of us, buy less unnecessary goods, with less package

10.     Each of us, engage actively to protect and save the planet for
our children. (Do not count on others to fix it for us).


*Henning Stocke,Antonia Staedel Denisa,and Akifumi Fujita have contibuted to this article.