“Our paper finds that there is no sound evidence that global climate change was a factor in sparking the Syrian civil war. Indeed, it is extraordinary that this claim has become so widely accepted when the scientific evidence for it is so thin.” –Professor Jan Selby, Director of the Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research, University of Sussex, 7 September 2017
Scientists have accused the Prince of Wales of exaggerating the link between climate change and the civil war in Syria. A new study found no evidence for the widely publicised theory that climate change was a factor in causing the war, in which more than 300,000 people have died and 11 million have been forced to leave their homes. A study by King’s College London and the University of Sussex has debunked the prince’s claim, which was also made by Barack Obama when he was US president. . —Ben Webster, The Times, 8 September 2017
“We’re seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem, because, I mean, it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues, you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move. And, in fact, there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough, was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people, in the end, had to leave the land.” —The Prince of Wales, Sky News, 23 November 2015
For proponents of the view that anthropogenic climate change will become a ‘threat multiplier’ for instability in the decades ahead, the Syrian civil war has become a recurring reference point, providing apparently compelling evidence that such conflict effects are already with us. According to this view, a human-induced climatic change was a contributory factor in the extreme drought experienced within Syria prior to its civil war; this drought, in turn, led to large-scale migration; and this migration, in turn, exacerbated the socio-economic stresses that underpinned Syria’s descent into war. This article provides a systematic interrogation of these claims and finds little merit to them. Amongst other things it shows that there is no clear and reliable evidence that anthropogenic climate change was a factor in Syria’s pre-civil war drought; that this drought did not cause anywhere near the scale of migration that is often alleged; and that there exists no solid evidence that drought migration pressures in Syria contributed to civil war onset. –Jan Selby et al. (2017) Political Geography, September 2017
Scientists and politicians are fond of trying to blame the Syrian crisis on climate change. Anyone who has examined the original studies will know already that they are little more than thinly-veiled political propaganda, their claims to a place in the scientific corpus being more about where they were published than anything done by the authors. Conflict researchers have been tiptoeing around this uncomfortable issue ever since and Selby’s new paper is just the latest delicately phrased attempt to set out the facts. Fortunately for the rest of us, the Selby team have unearthed the relevant data, and have great fun plotting it out for all to see. Amusingly, we learn that far from being “crippled” by drought, Daraa actually experienced average rainfall at the time it all kicked off and perhaps more importantly “there is no evidence of progressive multi-decadal drying either in the Fertile Crescent region as a whole or in northeast Syria specifically.” The whole thing is rather devastating and it certainly deserves publicity at least as wide as the original wild claims received. But let’s not hold our breath. –Andrew Montford, Global Warming Policy Forum, 8 September 2017
Yes, warmer ocean temperatures would logically seem to correlate with more or stronger hurricanes, but as shown below, they don’t. — Alan Reynold, Cato At Liberty, 7 September 2017
How many hurricanes feature in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel movie I wonder? –David Whitehouse, GWPF Observatory, 8 September 2017
Trackback from your site.