Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Quartz, if we don’t address the climate “issue”, everyone in Africa will jump on a boat and set up camp on our front lawns.
The climate-change refugee crisis is only just beginning
The Amhara Plateau is no one’s idea of a gloomy landscape. Rich fields blossom as far as the eye can see; bountiful rivers zigzag through the region’s rolling hills. It isn’t hard to see why local Orthodox Christians believe the Ark of the Covenant was floated down the Nile from Egypt and ended up here. Nor why desert raiders continually stormed in off the nearby Sahara for hundreds of years.
But to those who farm the fertile reaches of Western Ethiopia, their home environment is growing a good deal less enticing by the day.
Erratic temperatures and rains, which culminated last year in the total failure of the belg, the short rainy season, have struck locals hard. In a country still scarred by the deadly famines of the 1980s and 90s, reduced crop yields are panicking villagers, almost all of whom rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
There’s plenty of evidence that migration in sub-Saharan Africa is partly due to extreme weather.
“The rains are very weak and in winter the cold is like nothing I’ve seen before,” said Barakat Daniel, gesturing at a mostly empty trench he uses to irrigate his teff crop on a muddy hillock just outside Bahir Dar. “It’s a hard life.”
For some ambitious young men, conditions have long since crumbled to intolerable levels. They’ve tired of tilling land that’s become harder to farm as older farmers sub-divide their already small holdings into miniature plots for their many children. With population growth overwhelming meager services at the same time as intense weather plagues farmland, more and more people from the region appear to be following the example of refugees from violence-afflicted parts of Africa, and making a break for Europe.
There are plenty of things wrong with African countries. Anthropogenic CO2 isn’t one of these problems.
Extra CO2 improves plant growth rates, and resistance to drought. So whatever problems these unfortunate people are facing, to date at least, anthropogenic CO2 has incontrovertibly improved the availability of fodder, and boosted food crop yields.
I think it is disgusting that Quartz would attempt to play what is in my opinion a thinly veiled racist narrative, based on what I believe to be a falsehood about the effect of CO2 on arid regions of Africa, to try to get people interested in the climate issue.