A good (and timely) article here from msnbc.com reporting recent comments by the director of the UN Environment Program, Achim Steiner, regarding the links between climate change and resource conflicts. In a nutshell, he is stating that the process of global warming could lead to an adverse effect on natural resources (such as water), which in itself could create political conflict and instability between and within countries. Land and water disputes are likely to be prevalent between many countries that share such resources, particularly in Africa. This is especially likely where the capacity for transnational management and co-operation does not exist.
(I am particularly reminded of the scenario in the book ‘Climate Wars’ by Gwynne Dyer. He spoke about a potential nuclear conflict between Indian and Pakistan arising over disputes over access to water resources from the Indus. Frightening stuff! I believe it was the cause of the dream I had that was the inspiration for ‘Matilda Leviathan’! Stand by for a review of this excellent book soon.)
Steiner does not fully suggest that climate change may be responsible for the current famine and drought in East Africa at the moment (I was wondering if it was!) However, one could infer from his comments that such incidents may become more common as the globe begins to warm up.