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Environmental and human consequences of the capitalism system

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par Coralie Paturel
Uppsala University - Suède - Master 2 Action et Droit Humanitaire  2010

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I Ð Climate change / Global warning

1°/ What is it?

The climate change is currently called in the media global warming. It is a recent phenomenon. It is the increasing of the global temperature of the oceans and the atmosphere, on the whole world and over several years. This term has been applied to the climate change observed for approximately twenty-five years, since the end of the 20th century. Most of the scientific attribute this global warning to a human origin. Many changes have been observed in the world and they all seem coherent with the existence of a global warming. The climatologist work show that the last decade of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century constitutes the hottest period of this last two millenniums. Our period is even considering few degrees hotter than the medieval climatic optimum.

3 Kofi Atta Anann served as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006.

4 The Humanitarian global forum was a non-profit foundation from 2007 to 2010, led by Kofi Annan. It was intended to serve as an independent platform for debate and collaboration on global humanitarian issues. Its activities included research projects, advocacy and projects to deal with humanitarians concerns.

5 For practical matter, if we consider the differences between a refugees (out of his native countries) and a displace people (still leaving in his own country), in this essay, we will use the term climatic refugees, even if we are sometimes talking of climatic displace people, because the term climatic refugees is more use in the common and official speech.

2°/ Natural manifestation

The third report of the IPCC6, give some observations of this climate change:

- Precipitation: (rainfall): the precipitation became more important in the northern hemisphere and less important in subtropical zones in the south. It creates flood and drought.

- Ice floe: the ices floes are becoming smaller and smaller. The satellite observation show that the ices floes are losing some superficies in the Arctic Ocean; and that on the other side, it has been observed a thinning of this ices floes around the North Pole. - Ocean: we observe a warming of the oceans. It is estimate that the oceans have absorbed more than 80% of the heat had in the climatic system. This warming lead to the dilatation of the oceans and to a rising of the level of the sea. The data obtain by the IPCC show that the level of the sea have rise during the 20th century of some centimetre, and that this level continue to rise regularly. Between 1961 and 2003, the level of the sea has rise of 1,8mm each year. The other cause of the rising of the level of the sea is the partial lose of ices floes, which go into the ocean. The low land and the islands are particularly in trouble.

- Glacier: in the mountains, most of the glaciers (with very few exceptions) reduce every year. The eternal snow of the Kilimanjaro is disappearing more and more every year, and may disappear definitely. On the thirst satellite picture we can see the Kilimanjaro on the 17 February 1993 and on the second one, it is the Kilimanjaro the 21 February 2000.

The glaciers fewer than 3400 meters of altitude can disappear.

- The harvest: the climate and the temperature have an effect on the harvest.

- Air: some researchers have observed an air modification.

- Biodiversity: it has the extinction of a lot of species. If we continue the same way as now the risk of extinction of species will continue to grow.

- Earthquake and tsunami: this last decade it has more and more earthquake and tsunami. The intensity of this natural disaster is becoming stronger and stronger (as we just saw in Japan).

- Marine stream: a modification of the circulation of marine stream like Gulf Stream and the drift North Atlantic which could lead to the cooling of certain areas, in particular west of Europe.

6 The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.

- Storm and cyclone: this last decades the amount of storm and cyclone has increase and made a lot of victims

- Fire: because of hotter summer, there is an increase of forest fire.

The global warming is global and not uniform. It means that it can have a cooling at some places. This global warming includes the warming of the oceans.

As we can notice, all this observation proves a real change on the environment, which creates a major risk for the population, and this risk is going to increase severely.

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