Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Is Climate Change to blame for Islamic Terrorism?

                                                                         Is climate change to blame?

A new study carried out by scientists at Columbia University shows that Syria is experiencing a severe drought.  The drought in Syria began in 2006 and is likely a product of global warming.  The scientists suggest that economic distress resulting from the drought helped trigger the civil war in Syria which in turn gave birth to the Islamic State.

At first the possibility of a link between climate change and the birth of the Islamic State and their particular brand of extremist terrorist seems a bit far-fetched.    Yes, computer modeling shows that global warming causes droughts, and yes, very severe droughts are now impacting many regions around the world from California to Australia to Brazil to India to the Middle East.  But surely it isn't fair to blame Islamic Terrorism on Global Warming when so many regions are suffering drought without giving rise to violent extremists?

Possibly not, but the general principle behind this idea is worth noting.  Global Warming is inevitably going to cause immense social disruptions in the future.  Global Warming is already producing extreme droughts, economic disruption and political stress around the world.  In the near future tens of millions of refugees will be displaced by rising sea levels, with many of these refugees coming from densely populated areas on deltas in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, and Africa.  And no doubt other unpleasant things will happen as the climate continues to rise.

There is no way to predict the exact societal effects of global warming.  In some places the social stresses from global warming may result in nothing more than lawsuits---in other places rebellions and  violent jihad may be born, and in some place we may see wars between states over water and other natural resources.

Yes, climate change will be to blame for triggering these problems.

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