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Why Climate Change Had No Impact on the Syrian Uprising

October 10, 2015

By Paul Homewood



So called Climate Change has been blamed for the uprisings in Syria, but the Middle East expert, Kyle Orton, offers a much deeper analysis, which comes to different conclusions:




It is inevitable that when a complex situation erupts everybody will try to map their own specialities onto it. At the present time, where environmentalism is such a primary Western concern, it was perhaps always likely that the Syrian war would attract those determined to see this menace in every corner. It has happened before, with Darfur declared, “The First Climate War“. There were other possible causes—the Sudanese regime’s orchestration of the Janjaweed killer brigades, for example—but climate change’s impact received a great deal of attention.

Serious people speculated that climate change had ravaged Syria and was behind the drought that preceded the uprising. No matter that the reality is that those who attribute any one disaster to climate change are on ground no firmer than Councillor David Silvester in meteorological terms. But in Syria to speculate about climate change was to create a mystery where none existed.

Despite an abundance of water, between 2006 and 2010 there was a serious drought, which displaced more than 1.5 million subsistence farmers, depriving them of ninety percent of their income. The major cause was a depletion of groundwater. In the new “open” economy after Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father, the regime’s retainers were freed of restraint; they drilled more water than was sustainable to enhance their short-term gain. This happens in partially transformed economies where the monopolised corruption of the State becomes decentralised. The theft of common resources by the State has in-built incentives for sustainability based on considerations of regime longevity. But decentralisation means “state agents acting as independent monopolists”: this makes corruption “more widespread,” reduces State revenue, and promotes competition among these agents that incentivises them to “steal everything”. Combined with the end of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon in 2005—not only a valuable source of income from narcotics and money laundering, but from remittances, product of an aggressive form of “labor colonialism” that exported a million Syrians who would otherwise have been unemployed—this left cities swollen with dislocated and jobless young men. Enraged already, the (largely Sunni) internally displaced people were further provoked by the regime’s sectarianism: what few jobs there were—in the oil industry in Hasaka, for example—went to Alawites imported from the coast.

In January, a paper published by Francesca de Chatel, a Dutch specialist on water issues in the Arab world, vindicated this view. “[T]here is very little solid evidence” that climate change “will lead to more frequent and harsher droughts, [or] higher temperatures and lower and more unpredictable precipitation levels.” Indeed,

The only available evidence that global warming will lead to more extreme weather events relies on modeling. Data do not really sustain this hypothesis so far.


where there are so many other evident causes of the current conflict, it seems unproductive to focus on the possible role of climate change.



The whole article is well worth a read here.

  1. October 10, 2015 11:20 am

    Yesterday, Rush revealed the work of an Australian mathematician reported by Miranda Devine of Perth. Dr. David Evans corrected 2 major flaws in the computer models used for the current “climate change” craze. These corrections affect both CO2 and temperature reports. Thanks to Rush’s “Stack of Stuff” I was able to access the original report. Of course I will be crickets chirping with the media.

  2. October 10, 2015 11:38 am

    A very good piece. There is also the ever present water issue in terms of conflict over the Golan Heights.

  3. October 10, 2015 12:50 pm

    Actually, the draw-down of “fossil” ground-water in most the Middle East as well as large areas elsewhere (eg USA mid-West) is a ticking time-bomb under civilized life as we know it.

    Nothing to do with “AGW”, of course! Something to do with over-population, of course! But that is not a subject for polite conversation!

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