Fueled by the buildup of fossil fuel pollution, the world’s out-of-control climate is destabilizing many of the nations that control nuclear weapons, including Russia, China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan. Thousands have died in fires and floods, millions left homeless, and crops failed in the withering heat, the greatest the modern world has ever faced:
RUSSIA Moscow has reached 102.2° F, after never before even breaking the 100-degree mark in recorded history. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev have flooded the airwaves in response to outrage over the wildfires and droughts caused by the global heat wave, as officials are forced to admit the situation is out of control. The Russian government has recommended people evacuate Moscow, banned wheat exports, diverted flights, fired senior military officers, and warned the fires could pose a nuclear threat if they reach areas contaminated by Chernobyl. Medvedev called the linked disasters “evidence of this global climate change,” which means “we need to change the way we work, change the methods that we used in the past.”
CHINA The worst flooding ever recorded in northeast China, caused by weeks of torrential rain with no end in sight, has caused nearly $6 billion in damage to water projects there, In addition, “52 people are reported to have died and an additional 20 are missing following rain-triggered floods in central China’s Henan Province.” “In the southwestern province of Yunnan, at least 11 people died and 11 were missing following a landslide caused by heavy rain.”
INDIA “Record temperatures in northern India have claimed hundreds of lives in what is believed to be the hottest summer in the country since records began in the late 1800s.” “The death toll in flashfloods that hit the remote mountainous region of Ladakh in Indian-held Kashmir has risen to 103.”
NORTH KOREA “Flooding last month caused serious damage in North Korea, destroying homes, farms, roads and buildings and hurting the economy,” the secretive dictatorship of North Korea admitted yesterday. “About 36,700 acres of farmland was submerged and 5,500 homes and 350 public buildings and facilities were destroyed or flooded,” the official Korean Central News Agency said. “The news agency had previously reported heavy rains fell in the country in mid- to late July, but those earlier reports did not mention flooding or damage. State media in the impoverished, reclusive nation often report news days or weeks after an event takes place.”
PAKISTAN “Islamist charities, some with suspected ties to militants, stepped in on Monday to provide aid for Pakistanis hit by the worst flooding in memory, piling pressure on a government criticized for its response to the disaster that has so far killed more than 1,000 people.” “Thousands of people are fleeing Pakistan’s most populous areas as devastating floods” that have already affected more than 3 million people “sweep towards the south.” Fatima Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto’s niece, lashed out: “The floods are just the latest, most tragic example of how inept the Pakistani state truly is.”
As warming-fueled disasters grow more intense and more frequent, they put greater pressure on the governments of these nuclear states. This threat to global security was brought to the White House’s attention as far back as 1979, when top scientists warned that global warming “would threaten the stability of food supplies, and would present a further set of intractable problems to organized societies.” As the CNA Corporation wrote in 2007, “climate change is a threat multiplier in already fragile regions, exacerbating conditions that lead to failed states — the breeding grounds for extremism and terrorism.” The Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review recognized that global warming impacts and disasters will “act as an accelerant of instability or conflict.”
In Bonn, international climate negotiations have stalled. Record global temperatures, forest fires in Russia, lethal floods in Pakistan “are all consistent with the kind of changes we could expect from climate change, and they will get worse if we don’t act quickly,” said US negotiator Jonathan Pershing.