Tropic of Chaos

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Investigative journalist Christian Parenti explains how extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and failed states from Africa to Asia and Latin America. In Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering crisis and describes how to confront the challenge of climate-driven violence with sustainable economic and development policies.

Comments [6]


The reality is that it will not take much climate change to trigger serious humanitarian crisis. An average global temperature rise of just 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit would translate into serious disruptions in food production, which would lead to significant security problems for many states. We don't have to wait for sea levels to rise; just watch in coming decades as China redirects rivers away from India once their own productive deltas collapse and Northern Europe is inundated with refugees from a starving Mediterranean.

Jun. 30 2011 03:39 PM

World population remained static at about 1 billion, from the demise of the Roman empire till about 1800 when the industrial revolution began to really kick in. From 1800 to today, world population has increased 7 fold, from 1 billion to about 7 billion.

Industrialization means more urbanization, with people moving from farms to slums, to get jobs in factories under Dickensian conditions and the like. But overall, both in terms of numbers and in terms of average health and longevity, life is improving for most of the world's population.

But I agree that movement from fossil fuels to renewables is mandatory for progress to continue, and not revert to earlier, worse conditions.

Jun. 30 2011 12:45 PM
Jennnifer from New Jersey

I love this conversation. No counter balancing on the validity of global warming.....and the author blames everything on it. I'm waiting for him to blame the assassination of JFK on the phony global warming.

Jun. 30 2011 12:39 PM
Ed from Larchmont

And one of the last words of Jesus: "I thirst." And the world might say that in years to come.

Jun. 30 2011 12:36 PM
Amy from Manhattan

In Sept. 2009, a few months before the Copenhagen conference, I went to a forum on "Jobs, Justice, Climate" in NYC. 1 of the speakers was Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, whose islands average ~6' above sea level. This country faces a literal existential threat--rising sea level from global climate disruption could wipe it out not only as a nation but as a place in itself. This would probably be preceded by the kind of chaos Mr. Parenti's book predicts.

Another speaker was Mary Robinson, formerly president of Ireland & UN human rights commissioner. She now heads the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, which treats climate disruption as a human rights issue.

Jun. 30 2011 12:35 PM

Adaptation, mitigation. . . And sanctions imposed on countries like the United States, whose combination of per capita emissions and sheer national size make it the most damaging polluter in the world.

My view is that an essential problem is that decision-makers in the US, China, India, Brazil, etc., are not stakeholders. They're owners but not stakeholders. Why? Because the privileged in all these countries _know_ that no matter how bad things get, they will be protected, insulated from the consequences of their gross misconduct.

Jun. 30 2011 12:20 PM

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