The Stream, July 27: Link Exists Between Climate Disasters And Conflict, Study Finds

The Global Rundown

A new study suggests that extreme climate events can increase the risk of violent conflict in certain regions. Fifteen countries across southern Africa are asking for nearly $3 billion to address the lingering effects of a severe regional drought. More than a million people in India have been affected by monsoon floods along the Brahmaputra River. Drinking water at thousands of sites near U.S. military bases may be contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals. It took a Canadian company hours to begin shutting down an oil pipeline leaking into the North Saskatchewan River last week. California began a series of public hearings related to the Delta tunnels water project.

“I’m very angry. They’ve known about this for how long, and they’re just telling us? I drank water throughout my pregnancy. What is that going to do?” –Carmen Soto, a resident of Fountain, Colorado, after learning that her community’s drinking water supply is contaminated with unsafe levels of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Fountain is located near five U.S. military installations, and could be one of an estimated 2,000 sites across the country where drinking water has been polluted by PFCs contained in a firefighting substance used by the military. (The New York Times)

By The Numbers

$2.8 billion Amount 15 countries in southern Africa are asking for in an emergency appeal for aid to address the lingering effects of a severe, El Niño-linked drought. An estimated 36 million people in the region lack enough food, with 23 million of those requiring urgent assistance, according to the South African Development Community. Guardian

1.2 million people Number affected by extensive flooding in northern India due to monsoon rains. The worst-hit areas lie along the Brahmaputra River in Assam state, where more than 2,000 communities were inundated. Reuters

10 hours Time that elapsed between the start of an oil spill into Canada’s North Saskatchewan River and the initiation of a process to shut down the leaking oil pipeline. Analysts predict the spill, which occurred last week, will encourage opposition to future pipeline projects in Canada. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Nearly a quarter of all armed conflicts in regions where ethnic divisions exist are linked to climate disasters, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study’s authors say it provides more evidence for the theory that droughts, floods, and other extreme weather caused by climate change could increase the risk of conflict — an idea that scientists still fiercely debate. Guardian

On The Radar

The California State Water Resources Control Board kicked off public hearings Tuesday over the first portion of a $15.5 billion plan to change how water is diverted south from the Sacramento River. The plan involves the construction of two tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the hearings center on the location of new intake points that would feed water into those tunnels. The Sacramento Bee