Former Vice President Al Gore blamed climate change Thursday for the food shortages that resulted in the 2010 Arab Spring as well as the conflict in Syria.
Gore made these remarks at the South Korean resort island of Jeju during the “Challenges and Opportunities of Climate Change” Forum for Peace and Prosperity, The Korea Herald reported. Gore cited the largest Russian fire in 2010 that he said occurred because of global warming.
“Fifty-five thousand people died mostly of respiratory consequences of the smoke, but something else happened four months later,” he said.
Gore went on to say the consequences of the fire included the destruction of grain in the area and that Russia and Ukraine were compelled to take their grains off the global market.
“So this raised a food crisis worldwide … and there were food riots in 60 countries around the world,” including Tunisia, Gore said.
“(It was) a significant event because a food vendor in Tunisia at the peak of the food crisis set himself on fire and the video of that self-immolation caused the Arab Spring,” Gore said said, saying the protests that set off the Arab Spring first happened in Tunisia. “His last words were not ‘Down with the Tyrant,’ his last words were ‘How am I supposed to live?’
“(Nevertheless) the connection between climate crisis and political instability is an issue that has not yet received enough attention,” he remarked.
Gore claimed that “climate refugees” from Syria were a result of food climate change caused shortages from the Syrian civil war. The former vice president pointed to a 2006-2010 drought he blamed on climate change that pushed 1.5 million who lived on Syrian farms into the cities.
“When these climate refugees collided with another 1.5 million refugees from the Iraq War in the cities of Syria, the social explosion happened,” he said.
Gore’s claims come as President Donald Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord treaty.