It only took four days after U.K. voters chose to leave the European Union for a liberal climate scientist and eco-activist to blame the whole event on — you guessed it — global warming.
Joe Romm, a climate scientist and writer for the liberal blog ThinkProgress, wrote an article Monday arguing the so-called “Brexit” and the rise of GOP candidate Donald Trump are driven by global warming.
“We’ve known for a while that there are scientific tipping points beyond which certain climate impacts — like the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet or the thawing of the carbon-rich permafrost — become unstoppable,” Romm wrote. “But it appears there may also be political tipping points, where certain climate impacts cause so much widespread harm simultaneously that they simply fragment the world.”
“In this fatally-fractured future, countries focus almost exclusively on the ever-worsening climate devastation to their country, destroying the possibility of collective action by the world to help those worst off,” he wrote.
Romm goes on to argue the Brexit movement was largely fueled by “scaremongering around the Syrian refugee crisis” — a crisis he says caused by global warming. Romm wrote:
The Syrian migrant crisis “had an outsized impact on the Brexit,” as NBC News political director Chuck Todd said Friday. You can see that in the pro-Brexit poster from the U.K. Independence Party (above) — which became a major advertising campaign of the referendum — featuring thousands of male refugees streaming from Croatia into Slovenia last October.
It bears repeating that a major 2015 study confirmed: “Human-caused climate change was a major trigger of Syria’s brutal civil war.” This study found that global warming made Syria’s 2006 to 2010 drought two to three times more likely. “While we’re not saying the drought caused the war,” the lead author explained. “We are saying that it certainly contributed to other factors — agricultural collapse and mass migration among them — that caused the uprising.”
And that mass migration ultimately fueled the mass refugee crisis of the last two years, a crisis the world has utterly failed to figure out how to handle.
Environmentalists and some scientists have tried to link the Syrian civil war to man-made global warming for years. The argument has been repeated by Democratic presidential candidates and even Secretary of State John Kerry as evidence for why the world needs to get serious about a warming climate.
“It is not a coincidence that immediately prior to the civil war in Syria, the country experienced the worst drought on record,” Kerry said in 2015.
“Now, I’m not telling you that the crisis in Syria was caused by climate change,” Kerry said, adding it “clearly made a bad situation a lot worse.”
Romm took the argument one step further, and is now using it to claim Brexit was a consequence of a global warming-fueled refugee crisis.
“Brexit and Trumpism make plainly — and painfully — visible that even rich, democratic nations deal poorly with a moderate amount of refugees, immigration, and economic dislocation. Imagine how we’ll deal with the 100-fold escalation of those problems if we fail to stop catastrophic climate change,” he wrote.
“I’m not certain there is much middle ground in the global struggle between unity and disunity. Either the world works together to keep total warming well below 2°C — or our disunity leads to catastrophic warming and further global disunity not seen since the fall of the Tower of Babel,” he wrote.
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