Hillary Clinton endorsed an unfounded position gaining favor with the Obama administration on Tuesday when she said at a campaign event in Iowa that the Syrian refugee crisis is being fueled, in part, by climate change.
The Democratic presidential candidate called for a United Nations-led effort to find nations willing to take in the 4 million Syrian refugees who have fled their war-torn homeland or to provide them with clothing and food.
“Then we have to ask ourselves, ‘Why is this happening?'” Clinton said at a town hall event in Coralville. “Because of terrible governance, because of corruption, because of conflict, because of climate change.”
In tying the refugee crisis to climate change, Clinton echoed a theory floated last month by Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor.
“Climate change is what the Department of Defense has called a ‘threat multiplier,’ which means that even if climate change isn’t the spark that directly ignites conflict, it increases the size of the powderkeg,” Rice said during a speech at Standford University.
“In the years prior to civil war breaking out in Syria, that country, too, experienced its worst drought on record,” Rice continued, adding that farming families moved to cities in Syria, thus “increasing political unrest, and further priming the country for conflict.”
She cited a study released by Stanford researchers last year that showed that “a rise in temperature is linked with a statistically significant increase in the frequency of conflict.”
“There’s already an unholy nexus between human insecurity, humanitarian crises and state failure. And climate change makes it that much worse,” Rice continued.
In May, Secretary of State John Kerry also warned of a future filled with “climate refugees” fleeing their nations in search of food, water, and housing.
Obama himself offered similar remarks in a speech at the UN in September. He asserted that “we will be seeing climate change refugees” due to “rising seas and more intense droughts.”
WATCH (at 55:30):