Monday, June 18, 2007

Darfur and Climate Change

According to the headlines, the current United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, has suggested that the killing in Darfur was caused by global warming. Apparently, sub-Saharan Africa has been drying for the past two decades, and Ban attributes the drying to “man-made global warming.”

Is there something to global warming? Probably. Pouring tons of carbon into the atmosphere very likely has caused some unintended consequences. Nonetheless, even the celebrated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made predictions and pronouncements more modest than Al Gore’s hyperbolic hysteria.

Even if drought conditions in sub-Saharan African could be directly attributed to carbon emissions (which is impossibly complex), the problem in Darfur is not drought. It is genocide. The Sudanese government and allies who are racially Arab have been systematically slaughtering black Africans. Unlike the conflict in other parts of the Sudan, both sides are Muslim. The killing in Darfur is based almost solely on ethnicity. Over 300,000 are dead, and the number is climbing. The United States Holocaust Museum has a helpful summary.

The problem in Darfur is sin. Evil had darkened the human heart. Rape, murder, genocide are not caused by climate change. Although droughts can make life horribly difficult, they do not force people to exterminate their neighbors.

Why then would an intelligent man like the U.N. General Secretary blame global warming? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps, it is easier. Perhaps, it is easier to sign treaties to cut carbon emissions than to change hearts and minds. We all want to do something, but who wants to do the hard work of changing hatred to love?


gary said...

> The problem in Darfur is sin.

I would disagree. Darfur is s symptom of a dysfunctional United Nations. That's the problem. And here's the solution:

Until the UN is overhauled, there will be many Darfurs to come.


James said...

I support reforming the United Nations. In principle, I even support the development of a United Nations of democratic countries. Well-structured and supported such an organization could go a long way to promote security and human rights. However, the existence of such an organization will not preclude the problem of sin.

The crisis in Darfur should be blamed primarily on the perpetrators of genocide, and secondarily on good people who lacked the will to do anything. Another institution will not generate the moral fortitude necessary for the hard work ahead.

I wish you success in your endeavor.

gary said...

I agree...a United Democratic Nations will not preclude evil in the world. But I do see it as the single most concrete action we could take to prevent the Darfur's of the world.