The Stream, May 23: India Sand Mining Conflict Turns Deadly

The Global Rundown

A conflict over sand mining in an Indian river killed four people this week. A draft report submitted to NATO warned that water and food shortages linked to climate change will compound the risk of conflict in the Middle East and Africa. Large areas of the Midwest United States received double the normal amount of rainfall over the past month. Thawing permafrost that flooded the entrance to the Svalbard seed vault in Norway did not harm seeds stored at the site. Declines in summer water clarity at Lake Tahoe are linked to warmer surface water temperatures and climate change.

“There’s no doubt that the permafrost will remain in the mountainside where the seeds are, but we had not expected it to melt around the tunnel.” –Marie Haga, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, offering assurances that seeds in the Svalbard vault in Norway remained safe despite thawing permafrost that flooded the vault’s entrance. The seeds are meant to save crop diversity in the event of a global calamity. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

4 people Number killed in a conflict between villagers and sand miners in India’s Jharkhand state, where sand mining has been blamed for causing erosion and damage to rivers. Reuters

40 percent of the Midwest United States received twice as much rainfall as normal over the past month, flooding corn fields and damaging crops. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

Lake Tahoe’s water quality is suffering from record high temperatures linked to climate change, according to researchers in California. Warm surface water prevents the lake from mixing, allowing more algae to grow during the summer months and reducing water clarity. Nonetheless, scientists say improvements in the lake’s winter water clarity show that efforts to reduce polluted runoff and restore nearby wetlands are working. Associated Press

On The Radar

Climate change will create water and food shortages in the Middle East and Africa, compounding the risk of conflict and migration, according to a report submitted to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The report called on countries around the world to honor their commitments to the Paris climate accord and cut carbon emissions. Bloomberg

In context: Climate change effects on conflict are complex, tenuous, and misunderstood.