Joe Romm of Climate Progress argues that social unrest in Syria may have been acerbated by drought and long term climate change (global warming).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U S Dept. of Commerce (NOAA) concluded in 2011 that “human-caused climate change [is now] a major factor in more frequent Mediterranean droughts.”
In 2009, the UN and IFRC reported that over 800,000 Syrians had lost their entire livelihood as a result of the droughts. By 2011, the aforementioned GAR report estimated that the number of Syrians who were left extremely “food insecure” by the droughts sat at about one million.
The number of people driven into extreme poverty is even worse, with a UN report from last year estimating two to three million people affected.
This has led to a massive exodus of farmers, herders and agriculturally-dependent rural families from the countryside to the cities. Last January, it was reported that crop failures (particularly the Halaby pepper) just in the farming villages around the city of Aleppo, had led “200,000 rural villagers to leave for the cities.”
In October 2010, the New York Times highlighted a UN estimate that 50,000 families migrated from rural areas just that year, “on top of the hundreds of thousands of people who fled in earlier years.”
In context of Syrian cities coping with influxes of Iraqi refugees since the U.S. invasion in 2003, this has placed additional strains and tensions on an already stressed and disenfranchised population.
Global warming has far reaching social and political implications. Don’t elect politicians who are global warming deniers.