CNN Op-Ed: Global Warming Is Terrorism

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

Global warming is no longer a cause of terrorism, it is terrorism, according to a CNN opinion columnist.

“Signs of warming abound: 2015 promises to be the hottest year on record; a heat wave in India killed 2,300 people this summer; air pollution is killing far more people all the time; floods in the United States likely have been made worse by higher-than-normal tides; there’s evidence that a drought in Syria helped create conditions that led to the rise of ISIS,” wrote John Sutter for CNN’s “Two Degrees” series on global warming.

“We humans, however, are excellent at ignoring long-term global problems — like climate change. We focus on what’s right in front of us,” Sutter wrote from France, where world leaders are meeting to negotiate a global agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

“The recent terror attacks are tragic, and many lives will never be the same because of them. They should not be minimized,” Sutter wrote. “But climate change is another form of terror — and it’s one we’re wreaking on ourselves.”

Sutter’s column, following a climate scientist running from the Arctic to Paris in the name of fighting global warming, comes after world leaders have been tying global warming to terrorism, especially in Syria. Even Islamic State attacks on Paris, where delegates are holding climate talks, have only convinced some leaders that signing a global warming treaty would be a “powerful rebuke” to terrorists.

“And we salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on — an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children,” President Barack Obama said in a speech Monday. “What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it?”

For the past year, U.S. and European officials have been linking global warming to violent conflict and terrorist activities in an effort to paint warming as the mankind’s greatest security threat. Politicians have argued droughts, storms, floods and all sorts of other natural disasters will be made worse by global warming.

“I can’t separate the fight with terrorism from the fight against global warming,” French President Francois Hollande said at the United Nations climate summit in Paris. “These are two big global challenges we have to face up to, because we have to leave our children more than a world freed of terror, we also owe them a planet protected from catastrophes.”

But Sutter goes a step further than Hollande or Obama by declaring global warming itself is terrorism.

“We’ve already warmed the climate about 1 degree Celsius,” Sutter wrote. “We’re essentially locked into 1.5 degrees of warming based on all of the pollution we’ve pumped into the atmosphere, primarily by burning fossil fuels for heat and electricity.”

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