Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A plausible argument

Climate change implicated in current Syrian conflict : Nature News & Comment

The drought that ravaged Syria from 2007 to 2010 was the worst in that nation’s recorded history, devastating agriculture in the region. Roughly 1.5 million people fled rural areas for urban outskirts where, in March 2011, social unrest boiled over into civil uprising.

Now, researchers say that global warming helped to cause that drought — and,
by extension, helped to exacerbate the conflict, now a full-blown civil war, between armed insurgents and the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The study, published on 2 March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1,
documents a century-long trend of increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall in the region. Because the observed trend could be reproduced only when climate models took manmade greenhouse-gas emissions into account, the study’s authors conclude that global warming helped to drive the recent drought.

Sounds more plausible than the mere headline suggests, no?   (In an Australian context, it's hard to come to grips with the numbers involved in some of these drought/refugee situations around the world.  It's like the entire population of Brisbane and the Gold Coast relocating to Sydney - so hard to imagine.)

I'll also take this as support for my line that economists have no hope of working out the true economic effect of climate change in 80 years' time.


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