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Disinformation, water scarcity, and conflict: Opinions have ethical implications
This article by Suzanne Goldenberg in The Guardian caught my attention because it points to another potential source of violent conflict from climate change, namely the depletion of water in some parts of the world. To quote from her article:
The folks who specialize in conflict management, the Pentagon, recognizes the water problem as a potential source of conflict:
So it is not just heat stress that may trigger violent conflict, perhaps via forced migration as a mediating variable, but also water scarcity. Lest one think that this is an issue for the distant future, several scientists have recently pointed to a link between drought and the war in Syria; for example, here and here. Even the Washington Post reported on the link some months ago. (None of this is to ignore the politics of the conflict, but societal stressors should not be overlooked.)
Also today, the UK Met Office released a climate statement that states the obvious:
Floods or droughts, depending on where you live, all consequences of ongoing climate change. Consequences that were predicted decades ago by climate scientists. Consequences that continue to be denied by a propaganda machine that scholarly research has revealed to be funded by up to a billion dollars a year.
Opinions have ethical consequences. The dissemination of scientifically unfounded opinions to delay political solutions to a problem that was once fairly readily solvable, and is now solvable only at increasingly greater cost, has ethical implications. It also establishes a potential causal link between misinformation and each of the increasing number of climate-related extreme events--perhaps the floods in Somerset, just a few short miles from here, should be framed as being provided by the infamous Heartland Institute.
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