Billions could die through climate breakdown, scholars say

Climate change and the ecological collapse could cost billions of lives, a leading group of genocide scholars said.

“Over and beyond soaring temperatures, the collapse of sustainable food production and the permanent waterlogging of densely populated regions could lead to the direct death of large swathes of humanity or their displacement to other regions where they would be physically prevented from entry,” 24 leading genocide scholars and human rights practitioners said in a statement on Thursday.

The 195 signatory countries of the Paris agreement of December 2015 on climate change, have expressed a common aim of keeping world temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Turkey is one of only six countries yet to ratify the Paris climate accord. 

The climate breakdown will mainly effect the poorest and most marginalised elements of the human community, scholars said, especially in the Global South.

The catastrophes exposed on the natural world by humans that obviously led to global warming, also shelters an increased potential for pandemics, they said.

“Even so, causation of these threats lies in a historical record in which ecocide and genocide are closely interlinked. Understanding these interconnections as well as acting with responsibility demands a major rethink of curricula and research priorities in the genocide field, an intensified scholars’ debate but also a more everyday focus on how scholars might be active proponents for a sustainable, non-violent future.”

Scholars also called for an immediate change of paradigm in their own disciplinary field.