另一方面，哥倫比亞大學地球學會（Earth Institute）主任與聯合國顧問薩克斯（Jefferey Sachs）曾在受訪時提出，達佛環境遭受破壞的元兇，是長期以來降雨量減少，這「可能源自人為氣候變遷，即主要肇因於富裕國家排放的溫室氣體」。
Victims, pressure groups and legal experts want the International Criminal Court to charge Sudanese officials with environmental crimes which they say contributed to the mass displacement of Darfur civilians. In addition to ordering their campaign of terror and mass killings, the government instructed its allied Arab Janjaweed militia to drive out black farmers and civilians by burning fields and contaminating water supplies, claim refugees.
The role the environment had in the Darfur conflict was raised controversially in June by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who said the causes of the crisis were more complex than an ethnic dispute between Arab militias and black rebels and farmers. He argued that it began with an ecological crisis, arising, at least in part, from climate change.
But Darfur's internally displaced people, IDPs, say such arguments risk masking the guilt of government officials who drove people from their homes by destroying their food and water sources.
Khalil, an IDP in the El Fashir region of north Darfur, said the position taken by the secretary-general allowed the Sudanese government to escape the blame for environmental crimes committed by the allied Janjaweed militia.
He said the Sudanese government thought that "if they burn villages, destroy trees and make water shortages, the people will move away because of hunger and thirst to make way for the Arabs."
Yasir, from a camp in El Fashir, said the Sudanese government was forcing people out by burning their crops, and that "the International Criminal Court should investigate this kind of crime."
The UN asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Darfur in March 2005, and since then prosecutors have been questioning victims in refugee camps outside Sudan, because the government refuses to cooperate with the court or recognize its jurisdiction over serious crimes in the region.
Despite evidence like Yasir's testimony, the ICC has yet to press charges related to deliberate environmental destruction against anyone over the Darfur crisis.
However, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and advisor to the UN, said in an interview that the biggest cause of damage to the Darfur environment was a long-term decline in rainfall, which is "probably due to anthropogenic climate change, caused largely by rich-country greenhouse gas emissions."
He said the region desperately needs a development strategy and international financial support to implement it. "Even with peace, it will remain one of the very poorest and most desperate places on the planet," Sachs said.