Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday he believes global warming played a role in exacerbating the Syrian conflict.
“It is not a coincidence that immediately prior to the civil war in Syria, the country experienced the worst drought on record,” Kerry said during a speech in Milan Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Now, I’m not telling you that the crisis in Syria was caused by climate change,” Kerry said, adding that global warming “clearly made a bad situation a lot worse,”
Kerry’s narrative that global warming helped catalyze the Syrian unrest has been thoroughly discredited by climate experts. There’s limited evidence human-caused global warming is the main driver behind a severe drought that preceded Syria’s civil war and the rise of Islamic State extremists.
“The impact of human-caused climate change on drought conditions there was small, and largely overwhelmed by natural variability,” Chip Knappenberger, assistant director at the Center for the Study of Science at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Drawing a connection to global warming in the Syrian conflict was an ill-conceived idea with little scientific or social backing. More a case of political theater than actual fact.”
Environmental activists have been arguing for years that global warming helped spark the Syrian civil war. Knappenberger, however, beat back arguments that global warming is to blame.
“The anthropogenic climate change impact on drought conditions in the Fertile Crescent is extremely minimal and tenuous—so much so that it is debatable as to whether it is detectable at all,” Knappenberger wrote last March. “The human-influenced climate change impact on the drought conditions was almost certainly too small to have mattered.”
During his speech, Kerry called for a global agreement to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Kerry will be attending climate change talks this December in Paris, joining almost 200 other countries. The summit will focus on creating a global initiative to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.
“We need every country on the same page, all pushing for an ambitious, durable and inclusive agreement that will finally put us on the path toward a global clean energy future.” Kerry said.
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