Climate Change and Terrorism

Last month, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Nature published a Q & A with an anthropologist who studies the murderous motivations of Islamic extremists. He discussed socio-cultural factors and an allure to a radical ideology. That may help explain Islamic attacks against “infidels” in Europe and the United States, but then what’s driving suicide bombers in Somalia, Pakistan, and Iraq where it’s Muslims killing Muslims? Is there a common denominator?

On Twitter, Jeff Goodell points suggestively to his current story at Rolling Stone magazine.

I took the bait.

It turns out that Goodell doesn’t talk about a terrorism/climate change nexus. His piece is largely about the Pentagon taking climate change seriously (a story circulating since October), while hawkish Republicans are not. So this puts the GOP and the U.S. military in opposition on a national security issue. It’s an interesting tension, for sure, and a story that has been developing since the late 2000s.

Now, the closest Goodell gets to discussing a connection between global warming and terrorism is when he links the Arab Spring, Syria’s civil war and the rise of Nigeria’s Boko Haram to climate change-fueled drought. But such cause and effect, in each case, is either problematic or dubious, depending on your frame of mind.

I should say at this point that I agree climate change is a “threat multiplier” in strife-riven, poorly governed countries. But a root cause of terrorism? Or a main factor in Syria’s unraveling? Not seeing that. Still, it’s all part of a complex debate, one I’ve been following with great interest since 2009.

On a related note, President Obama generated headlines last week when he suggested that climate change was a greater threat than terrorism. Around the same time he said this, the White House issued its 2015 National Security strategy. On page 11:

No threat poses as grave a danger to our security and well-being as the potential use of nuclear weapons and materials by irresponsible states or terrorists.

The next page:

Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water.

Both threats are real, but only one of them sometimes keeps me awake at night.

87 Responses to “Climate Change and Terrorism”

  1. Steve Crook says:

    Just smacks of scraping the bottom of the media sensation barrel in a desperate attempt to make climate change immediate and move it off the bottom of peoples concerns list.

  2. Buddy199 says:

    “No threat poses as grave a danger to our security and well-being as the potential use of nuclear weapons and materials by irresponsible states or terrorists.”

    Such as the jihadist apocalyptic death cult who last week sawed the heads off 25 Coptic Christians in Egypt and burned another 45 alive in al-Baghdadi, Iraq. Their upgrading from prehistoric murder methods to nuclear weapons gives me the chills too.

  3. Uncle Al says:

    Muslims killing Muslims” Every cult of Yahweh – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – bloodily targets competitors and its own schisms. Yahweh feeds upon anguish, re His out-of-wedlock son. Test of faith!

    global warming and terrorism” Political spin. The US attacked the Middle East and stuffed Archer-Daniels-Midland portfolios by diverting cheap corn as foreign aid (Brobdingnagian foreign bribes) into local gas tanks (feeding upon its own citizens).

    About 180 million Americans are enjoying the Greenhouse Effect, Global Warming, and KLIMATE KAOS! as the coldest and snowiest winter on record. It’s OK – the world as a whole is warming, except for the past 13 years. Test of faith! Pay your Carbon Tax on Everything or your children will burn. (Where have we heard that before?)

  4. Uncle Al says:

    The deceased worshiped a false god. Try boarding a plane with a bottle of shampoo. Revenge is swift and terrible when sinners must be shriven. Cf., guillotine, Room 101.

    Oranges and lemons,
    Say the bells of St. Clement’s…

    Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
    And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
    Chip chop Chip chop the last man is dead,

  5. So far, I don’t think any non-state actor has ever acquired a nuclear weapon.

  6. bobito says:

    It’s hard to ignore the correlation. The Middle East had been such a peaceful place prior to climate change…

  7. OWilson says:

    We are no better here.

    That public slaughter reminds us that civilisation is hard won, and easily lost. It’s separated by a hair’s breadth.

    We are caught up in our own (not so) civil war here at home.

    Maybe the warmers could start things off by not calling for my confinement to a mental institution, calling me a criminal who should be in jail, a bribed (still waiting for the cheque) traitor for daring to question the conventional wisdom on global warming,

    Or maybe the President could save his worst rhetoric for the Islamic terrorists, instead of Republicans and others, who represent approximately half the country he getting paid to lead,

  8. bobito says:

    Yes, certainly the West’s problems are trivial compared to the Middle East and Norther Africa. IE: The phrase “civil rights abuse” is thrown around a lot. I’m sure a woman in Saudi Arabia would say ‘you keep on using that phrase, I do not think it means what you think it means’…

  9. Jay Currie says:

    If you take a look at history through a climate lens you can certainly see how climate has effects on a local and regional (and possibly world wide scale). The rise of the Roman Empire seems to have coincided with a significant warming period, the move from the Dark Ages to the vastly wealthier Medieval world arose during a warming period (pace Dr. Mann). Local drought has finished off cities and forced entire nations to migrate or die.

    Of course, unlike the Modern witch doctors apparently advising the Pentagon and the White House, the Romans and the emerging world of the Medieval period did not think they had anything to do with the climate in which they found themselves. God, or, Gods, might be implicated but not man.

  10. Natural disasters are not increasing due to climate change.

    The refugee flows are caused by war and unrest, not be climate change.

    The 2000 people rescued at sea on their way to Italy were not fleeing a flood or climate change.

    Fights over food and water are caused by fights over food and water, not climate change.

    People have been fighting over food and water as long as their have been people.

  11. Buddy199 says:

    Sept. 10, 2001 – So far, no non-state actor has flown hijacked aircraft into the World Trade Towers and Pentagon.

  12. Buddy199 says:


  13. Jeffn says:

    “…he links the Arab Spring, Syria’s civil war and the rise of Nigeria’s Boko Haram to climate change-fueled drought. But such cause and effect, in each case, is either problematic or dubious, depending on your frame of mind.”

    Actually, according to the IPCC, such “cause and effect” isn’t real at this point. So, by the standards of warm activists, Rolling Stone finds itself in anti-science denierville. Which I’m sure will come as no surprise to anyone at the University of Virginia, which recently became well acquainted with Rolling Stone’s journalistic standards.
    While climate change itself isn’t posing any real security threat right now, mitigation policies threaten to. The most stabilizing force in the world right now is economic growth- something that is difficult to accomplish while arbitrarily forcing higher energy prices and, in rare moments of honesty, many climate campaigners say they wish to end. Some would challenge that and say “good government” is a better stabilizing force, but the fact of the matter is that economic growth accompanies good government and is the stabilizing factor of good government.

  14. No equivalent. Plane hijackings were taken less seriously back in the day, and flying a plane is easier than handing weapons-grade uranium.

  15. Uncle Al says:

    Christians dearly love killing innocents, and the Vatican as sword arm most of all (Crusades, Inquisition, 30 Years War, ~20 million New World Amerindians, Pope Pius XII). It’s even in their nursery rhymes (bend the twig, then so the tree),

    Oranges and lemons,
    Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
    You owe me five farthings,
    Say the bells of St. Martin’s.
    When will you pay me?
    Say the bells of Old Bailey.
    When I grow rich,
    Say the bells of Shoreditch.
    When will that be?
    Say the bells of Stepney.
    I do not know,
    Says the great bell of Bow.
    Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
    And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
    Chip chop Chip chop the last man is dead.

  16. Buddy199 says:

    The unimaginable for us is just a solvable technical problem for them. Especially when they are motivated by fanatical jihadism, and we would rather not be bothered thinking about such uncomfortable things.

  17. Buddy199 says:

    Al, you’re entertaining. But absolutely nuts.

  18. Mike Richardson says:

    Well, I haven’t seen anyone call for your confinement here, though a little therapy might not hurt. And sorry, but the President has not used anything near the rhetoric on Republicans that he has used when referring to the terrorists. That really does sound delusional.

  19. Mike Richardson says:

    Root cause, no, but certainly climate can be an aggravating factor. Any resulting loss of natural resources just adds fuel to the fire with any group looking to justify attacking others. Especially when these groups don’t accept science, and instead use supernatural reasons to excuse their atrocities.

  20. JH says:

    Well, speaking of the relationship between good government and human well being….

    While Obama thinks climate change is a big threat to America, it’s also pretty safe to say that Obama is a big threat to pretty much everyone in the Middle East and North Africa. His policies have contributed significantly to the destabilization of most of the Middle East and North Africa, directly contributing to the collapse of Libya, the near collapse of Egypt; the re-collapse of Iraq; and providing substantial impetus for the fighting in Ukraine. In addition, we can credit him with an assist in Syria by demanding that “Assad must go” and trying to start an air campaign there; and with toppling a stable government in Egypt – if not for the Assisi Save, Egypt would likely today be a source of weapons and financial support for ISIS.

    I can hardly imagine a more inept and destabilizing foreign policy than the policies that the Obomba Admin has pursued over the last six years. Obviously, Mr. Obama was too busy campaigning for human rights to brush up on Bismarck’s philosophy.

    No doubt, Bush did his fair share of damage. But, like Bush before him, Obama seems equally oblivious to the reality that his policies are creating.

    It’s kind of tragically amusing to contrast the certainty and magnitude of the effects of Obama Change vs. Climate Change.

  21. OWilson says:

    Obama, -“We won”, and about the GOP joining Democratic efforts for reform: “They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”

    He exhorted Latinos to “punish their enemies”, and that includes half the country that don’t agree with his policies.

    That’s the talk of a street organizer, not the leader of a country.

    When was the last time he referred to N Korea, Iran, or Islamists as “enemies”?

    Here’s the usual liberal moral equivalency sop to his left wing cronies in his Wednesday speech, courtesy of NYP:

    “”(Obama) declared that “we all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist . . . Around the world, and in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths, which is, of course, betrayal of all of our faiths.”

    Mourned the “brutal murders” of “three young Muslim Americans” in Chapel Hill, NC, pointing to the religion of the victims even though the crime may have been over a parking dispute.

    Pointed to “grievances” of young Muslims living in poverty under corrupt governments, saying that when there are no outlets, “resentments fester.”

    Was protective of Muslims in the US. “Muslim Americans feel they have been unfairly targeted,” he said. “We have to be sure that abuses stop, are not repeated, that we do not stigmatize entire communities.””

    Who’s “delusional” again? requiring “therapy”?.

    Does name calling somehow make you lefties feel secure?

  22. Odin Matanguihan says:

    handling weapons-grade uranium becomes a lot easier when safety is not a concern.

  23. Dan Pangburn says:

    The simple proof that CO2 change does not cause climate change has been hiding in plain sight and here it is:

    CO2 has been considered to be a forcing with units Joules/sec. Energy change, which is revealed by temperature change, has units Joules. Average forcing times duration produces energy change. Equivalently, a scale factor times the time-integral of the CO2 level produces the temperature change.

    During previous glaciations and interglacials (as so dramatically displayed in An Inconvenient Truth) CO2 and temperature went up and down nearly together. This is impossible if CO2 is a significant
    forcing (scale factor not zero) so this actually proves CO2 CHANGE

    Application of this analysis methodology to CO2 levels for the entire Phanerozoic eon (about 542 million years) (Berner, 2001) proves that CO2 levels up to at least 6 times the present will have no significant effect on average global temperature.

    See more on this and discover the two factors that do cause climate change (95% correlation since before 1900) in a peer reviewed
    paper published in Energy and Environment, vol. 25, No. 8, 1455-1471 or search “agwunveiled”.

  24. CB says:

    “Fights over food and water are caused by fights over food and water, not climate change.”

    You know climate change affects the amount of available food and water… right?

    Food doesn’t actually come from the supermarket. It has to be grown.

    That requires a favourable climate.

    Welcome to 3rd grade.

  25. CB says:

    “Just smacks of scraping the bottom of the media sensation barrel in a desperate attempt to make climate change immediate”

    Climate change is immediate. It’s happening now, and about to get much worse.

    Over half of Arctic sea ice has disappeared over the last 36 years:

    “Monthly averaged ice volume for September 2014 was 6,970 km³… 59% lower than the maximum in 1979”

    If it won’t be completely gone in a few more years at this rate of decline, how long will it take?

    If you understand this sea ice stabilises the climate that grows the food that keeps you alive, why wouldn’t the question interest you?

    Does being alive not interest you?

  26. Please point out your evidence showing less food production and less water availability from the .8C warming we have experienced since 1850.

    We produce more food today that ever before.

    The warmer the world the more precipitation there will be in total (i.e. fresh water).

  27. CB says:

    “Please point out your evidence showing less food production and less water availability from the .8C warming we have experienced since 1850.”

    In what part of the world?

    “We produce more food today that ever before.”

    Who is “we” and how has that been achieved?

    “The warmer the world the more precipitation there will be in total”

    That is true, in general!

    Why would you think, A. that would necessarily be a good thing, and B. that we grow food in places where there will be more water?

    “Our results indicate that future reductions in Arctic sea ice cover could significantly reduce available water in the American west”

  28. In what part of the world?

    The entire world. My premise is that we (by which I mean all 7 plus billion humans on the entire planet) produce more food today than ever before.

    Who is “we”?


    More rain is better – I think most people agree with that. Quite a few people are worried about fresh water shortages, so more rain will lessen that.

    Of course, I am assuming all the extra rain doesn’t fall in one place. Do you have any reason to believe it will all fall in one place?

    As for your American West comment – it might get drier. the American west had several centuries of drought in the past (when CO2 was a mere 280 ppm) and it may naturally have that condition again.

    In other words, drought is not always caused by GHG’s – sometimes it occurs naturally.

  29. dscot says:

    People are fleeing areas where war has preventing the growing of crops, not the other way around. It is GREED plain and simple that causes hunger, not a lack of food. The climate alarmists are grasping at straws.

  30. dscot says:

    Flying planes, obtaining a nuke warhead, both just take money and the will. No handling of ‘weapons grade uranium’ required!

  31. dscot says:

    So, what? Since the Christians had their turn, it’s OK for others now? Dumbest comment ever!

  32. CB says:

    “More rain is better”

    Is it?

  33. Mike Richardson says:

    Understanding root causes and contributing factors of violence does not mean excusing the behavior itself, it simply means you recognize different avenues to attack the problem. Or we could just use the word “evil” a whole bunch, and attack the wrong country, like a certain other recent occupant of the White House. I guess to a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  34. DavidAppell says:

    While I think climate change is definitely a bigger long-term threat than terrorism (and said so over 10 years ago, for which James Inhofe derided me in the Congressional Record), I think Goodell is way off base here. He’s reaching, trying to pull a threat into his domain, maybe so he can write about it.

    I see recent polls that show Americans think terrorism in now the largest threat they face. That seems whacked to me. I’m much more worried about getting shot in a mall, strafed in a movie theatre, or learning of a gun incident at my niece & nephew’s school. (There have been two shootings at schools in Portland OR just this year.)

  35. DavidAppell says:

    “Natural disasters are not increasing due to climate change.”

    Where is your data?

  36. DavidAppell says:

    Richard: where is the data to support your premise? Or does it just not occur to you to substantiate the things you say??

  37. DavidAppell says:

    As soon as someone starts in about Obama and how he’s ruining the country and those darn libruls, I know they don’t (and probably can’t) make their argument about the science. It’s a tell every time.

  38. DavidAppell says:

    No one really knows, do they? Russian nukes where somewhere when the USSR disbanded; not all of them stayed in Russia.

  39. DavidAppell says:

    And the end of the Mayan civilization seemed to have occurred at a time of massive drought in SW America and Mexico.

  40. DavidAppell says:

    So you’re cutting and pasting this commet all over the Intertubes, huh Dan?

    Why not just submit your work to a journal?

  41. DavidAppell says:

    I’m curious — why do you think it’s about to get “much worse?”

  42. DavidAppell says:

    “Agriculture is one of the economic sectors most exposed to climate change impacts, but few studies have statistically connected long-term changes in temperature and rainfall with yields. Doing so in Europe is particularly important because yields of wheat and barley have plateaued since the early 1990s and climate change has been suggested as a cause of this stagnation. Here, we show that the impact of climate trends can be detected in the pattern of long-term yield trends in Europe. Although impacts have been large in some areas, the aggregate effect across the continent has been modest. Climate trends can explain 10% of the slowdown in wheat and barley yields, with changes in agriculture and environmental policies possibly responsible for the remainder.”

    — Moore and Lobell, PNAS (2015)

  43. DavidAppell says:

    “For wheat, maize and barley, there is a clearly negative response of global yields to increased temperatures. Based on these sensitivities and observed climate trends, we estimate that warming since 1981 has resulted in annual combined losses of these three crops representing roughly 40 Mt or $5 billion per year, as of 2002.”

    — “Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming,” Environmental Research Letters Volume 2 Number 1, David B Lobell and Christopher B Field 2007 Environ. Res. Lett. 2 014002 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/1/014002

  44. DavidAppell says:

    “Higher CO2 tends to inhibit the ability of plants to make protein… And this explains why food quality seems to have been declining and will continue to decline as CO2 rises — because of this inhibition of nitrate conversion into protein.”

    – University of California at Davis Professor Arnold J. Bloom, on Yale Climate Connections 10/7/14,

  45. OWilson says:

    Let us know, in your wisdom, how you would like the political left to be referred to: democrats, liberals, or, the latest, progressives?

    We’ll try to keep up, just as we did with global cooling, global warming, and now climate change. 🙂

  46. Tom Fuller says:

    Look at the scorecard Mr. Appel. The only deaths I’m aware of from climate change are the Argentinian couple who killed their child and then themselves because they were distraught over climate change.

  47. Tom Fuller says:

    Maybe ii 25 years. Not to date.

  48. Tom Fuller says:

    Unless you’re counting earthquakes and tsunamis, Mr. Arrett is correct.

  49. Dan Pangburn says:

    I’m waiting for brilliant people like yourself to point out an error. Was this too complex for you?

    Most luminaries click on ‘see more’.

  50. Tom Fuller says:

    Don’t you know where to fine the FAO report on food security? I’ll give you a hint–try a dot org url.

  51. Tom Fuller says:

    2012 is already past.

  52. Steve Crook says:

    Twonk. I meant immediate (relevant is another word they like to use) in a media sense, because that’s what we’re talking about. In this instance.

    On most polls of what’s of interest to people, climate change is usually sitting in the bottom half close to the relegation zone. Not good if you’re inclined to the idea it’s an existential crisis.

    So what better way to get peoples attention than by telling them increased CO2 levels make them more likely to get blown up by a Muslim…

  53. Steve Crook says:

    So two wrongs DO make a right? Or is this some sort of equal opportunities thing?

  54. OWilson says:

    So how are you doing with poverty, illiteracy and vandalism in the gang banging ghettos?

    These are the people voting for you.

    Need another 40 years to “understand root causes and contributing factors?

    Here’s “root cause” of ISIS fer yer.

    Premature withdrawal from enemy territory before it is secured and the notification to the enemy of those intentions.

    You did the same in Viet Nam.

    Thank god you lefties weren’t in power after Germany and Japan were conquered, and N.Korea was held.

    Your Samsung TV’s, computers, and your BMWs and Volkswagons, may be a tad more expensive. Not to mention the millions that would be living under the jackboot.

    (Note to low info liberal voters, we are still there!)

  55. Mike Richardson says:

    After what you just posted, you’re calling other people “low info” voters?! Is this a joke?
    Even if I didn’t have a Master’s degree in history, I’d know better than to make the argument you just made.
    Here’s a history lesson for you:
    “Lefties” were in power when Germany and Japan fell — Democratic Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt (the New Deal was about as left-wing as you could get) at the time Germany fell to the Allies, and Harry S. Truman at the time Japan surrendered following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman was also President when North Korea and China were turned back during the Korean War. Eisenhower only concluded the Korean War at the stalemate along the 38th parallel, which had already been concluded by that point.
    Castro and Kruschev were thwarted during the Cuban Missile Crisis by the resolve of John F. Kennedy, again, not a conservative.
    As for pulling out of Vietnam prematurely, that was Richard Nixon, not known for being a bleeding heart liberal.
    We could debate the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, but there’s no debating who actually got us into those disastrous wars, and “W” wasn’t a lefty, either.
    Obviously, the strength of your opinions is inversely proportional to the strength of the “facts” upon which they are based. Thanks to another poster on one of the other Discover blogs, I was directed to an interesting article discussing the Dunning-Kruger effect, and lo and behold, I see it on full display here. For future reference, try to at least have some factual basis for your opinion. Or don’t. Amazing displays of ignorance can sometimes be amusing.
    Also, you might be more persuasive if you’d hold back some of the bile directed at liberals and minorities (“gang banging ghettos” – really?!). Some of us are perfectly willing to correct your ignorance of history and other subjects in a cordial manner, and would just appreciate a little reciprocity.
    But returning to the topic at hand, root causes of strife, be they climate change and the resulting famine, flood, and civil unrest; or, historical events, are important to understand before positing a solution to the problem. Knowledge is power. Get some.

  56. CB says:

    “why do you think it’s about to get “much worse?” “

    The thermohaline currents that power the entire climate system of the northern hemisphere are regulated by Arctic sea ice. When too much energy goes into the system, the ice melts and keeps the temperature at zero.

    Once this ice is gone, that energy will have nowhere to go but up.

    Once you start seeing rain over Greenland, watch out. You could be talking about absolutely massive destabilisation of the Greenland ice sheet and sea level rise faster than absolutely anyone is predicting, not to mention a shutdown of the entire thermohaline system that keeps western Europe temperate… within years.

  57. CB says:

    “So what better way to get peoples attention than by telling them increased CO2 levels make them more likely to get blown up by a Muslim…”

    Fear-mongering against Muslims is stupid, of course, but climate change is affecting geopolitics, and it’s going to get much much worse.

    The glacial meltwater that supplies nuclear powers China, India and Pakistan with sustenance is on its way out.

    If you think it’s bad now, you have absolutely no idea what’s coming…

    If you had a healthy sense of self-preservation, why wouldn’t evaluating that threat interest you?

  58. CB says:

    “People are fleeing areas where war has preventing the growing of crops, not the other way around”

    You know there’s a drought in Syria… right?

    “A 2006 drought pushed Syrian farmers to migrate to urban centers, setting the stage for massive uprisings”

    Is it possible to grow crops with no water?

  59. JH says:

    ha ha ha! Blatant misrepresentation. You and David are kind of the Mo and Curly of warmists.

  60. JH says:

    Try the IPCC david. You know the data. That’s why you don’t discuss the evidence.

  61. Steve Crook says:

    I think you need to turn your inference engine down a notch or two.

    I’ve no doubt that resource shortages can have an impact on conflicts. History tells us that.

    Go back and reread the tweet.

    Then tell me which terrorist activities can be shown to have climate change at their root. Or even those that can, in part, be attributed to the effects of climate change.

    Thought not.

  62. OWilson says:

    I don’t consider Roosevelt and Truman, “lefties”, and neither does the world at large. They were pro American and anti-communist Democrats.

    Substitute “progressives” for my “lefties” and despite your semantic dancing, my comments stand.

    Namely, the US has a military presence still in Germany, Korea, Japan and Cuba. Those places are thriving and stable.

    Why do you progressives think that is 🙂

  63. mememine says:

    Exaggerating vague science for 34 years while not achieving climate action to save the planet proves decades of needless CO2 panic can only be judged as a war crime in the history books.

  64. david russell says:

    Drought is weather, not climate. The number of acres under drought conditions shows no trend for the past 60 years. Indeed droughts were worse in the 1930s than now.

  65. Mike Richardson says:

    LMAO! Oh man, you’re the gift that keeps on giving. You could have just admitted you got a little carried away with flinging vitriol at liberals and stepped off in it, which would have been a mature thing to do when called out on distortion of the facts, but no, you double down on the ignorance.
    “I don’t consider Roosevelt, Truman, or JFK, ‘lefties,’ and neither does the world at large. They were pro American and anti-communist Democrats.”
    Where the hell do you think they fall on the political spectrum? They were definitely left of center, especially Roosevelt, whom some of your right-wing cohorts continue to vilify to this day as socialist for creating Social Security. As for the “world at large,” unless you’re talking about the voices in your head, pretty much everybody with any knowledge of history and the ability to reason knows that they weren’t conservatives.
    “Substitute ‘progressives’ for my ‘lefties’ and despite your semantic dancing, my comments stand.”
    Yep, they stand alright, as a testament to complete denial of reality. They were both left of center and progressive, and yet patriotic and anti-communist, as many of us on the left are. I know it’s a hard concept for you to accept, but it’s true. Declaring that they couldn’t be leftist because they were patriotic is like saying Stalin couldn’t be a bad guy because he fought Hitler with us and gave all those people free trips to Siberia.
    I know it’s a diversion from the topic of this blog, but I really have a pet peeve with delusional right wing revisionist versions of history. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
    Do you argue with your doctor about your diagnosis and treatment? Do you argue with your lawyer over the law? This just isn’t a topic you’re knowledgeable about, kinda like climate change. When someone points out that you’ve stepped in a pile of dog poo, just admit you weren’t paying attention, thank them for pointing it out, and clean up the mess. Don’t stand in the pile, holding your nose, and arguing that they don’t know anything, because it’s just mud.
    As for me being sensitive, don’t worry, I’m pretty hard to offend. I just thought you might not want to come across as an obnoxious bigot with your comments, but if you think that’s working for you, go right ahead. I don’t want to stand in the way of this train wreck.

  66. Mike Richardson says:

    I think CB’s right. This one’s probably a bot.

  67. Mike Richardson says:

    Probably because a healthy sense of self preservation requires rational thought.

  68. Mike Richardson says:

    No, droughts are regional and reflect a long-term trend, thus meeting the definition of climate, not weather. Also, in this country, the areas that were under drought conditions in the Dust Bowl have gotten a temporary reprieve by exploiting the Ogallala Aquifer, which isn’t an inexhaustible resource. Once that runs out, you’ll see the full effect of drought in the United States.

  69. OWilson says:

    Sounds just a little condescending, coming from a poster that gets just 4 upticks from 16 posts on his home ground, a global warming blog.

    Come back when you learn that name calling and personal insults are not the way to win a debate or an argument.

    I’m done with you. You are no longer worth my time.

  70. david russell says:

    Weather vs climate is defined by 30 years.
    California is a drought prone area.
    Therefore, a few years of California drought do not constitute climate change.
    I haven’t a clue why you mention the Ogallala Aquifer.

  71. Mike Richardson says:

    Because it provides water for crops grown in the Great Plains, which otherwise would be too arid for it. It doesn’t replenish as quickly as water is withdrawn from it, so it isn’t considered a renewable source of water. Technically, a return of the Great Plains to arid grassland wouldn’t be climate change, since that is its natural state, though increased severity of drought would certainly speed up the process.

  72. david russell says:

    Thank you for that. As you said, it’s got nothing to do with climate change, albeit we’re going to have to deal with lack of water in the Great Plains at some point.

  73. calhou says:

    numbnutz like you haven’t figured out that we live in the here and now……and here and now none of that is being perpetrated by Christians. Something that cannot be said about progressive liberals and muslims.

  74. iFred says:

    “While I think climate change is definitely a bigger long-term threat than terrorism”

    Where’s the data?

  75. iFred says:

    Does that also apply to your cutting and pasting links?

  76. CB says:

    “Then tell me which terrorist activities can be shown to have climate change at their root.”

    The ability of ISIS to persist in Syria, for one thing:

    “In Syria, a devastating drought beginning in 2006 forced many farmers to abandon their fields and migrate to urban centers. There’s some evidence that the migration fueled the civil war there”

    Did you think your ignorance of a fact would make that fact go away?

  77. mea_mark says:

    I suppose you think that with warmer temperatures those plants aren’t going to need more water. Then there is the intervening period between rains with higher temperatures stressing plants. It sure seems to me like a net loss coming. ~ Just a gardener’s perspective on things.

  78. mea_mark says:

    Greed has fueled a consumption economy where we consume resources as fast as possible to make a buck. Many of those resources have been polluting the air and causing changes in the climate. So yes there actually is a correlation between climate change and greed, that is resulting in less food causing strife in the world today.

  79. Steve Crook says:

    To prove that climate change was a root cause of the rise of ISIS you’ll have to prove:
    That the drought was made significantly worse or caused by climate change.
    That those driven off the land were recruited by ISIS because of the effects of the drought.
    Then you’ll have to show that, without these people being available, ISIS would, probably, never have been formed.

    Why not look at the domination of the Assad family in Syria, the brutal repression of legitimate demonstrations, the futile Iraq invasion and the botched occupation, the support of Iran, the fragmentation of Al Qaeda and the sponsorship of Wahhabism by Saudi Arabia and all the other stuff that’s gone on since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    But no, it’s gotta be climate change.

    Water shortages may well cause problems in the Middle East, but they’re more to do with usage rather than climate change induced drought.

  80. I see your point. However, isn’t it also true that higher CO2 levels cause plants to use less water (or perhaps use water more efficiently)?

    I have no idea what the net is between these two effects.

  81. CB says:

    Sure, you’ll reject any and all evidence climate change is one of the causes of terrorism.

    That’s what Climate Deniers do.

    …so why should anyone take you seriously?

  82. mea_mark says:

    Can you prove it’s not?

  83. Steve Crook says:

    That it’s not a root cause? I’ve already shown that it’s unlikely, impossible to prove. Though I’d suggest that the burden of proof would be with the proposer.

  84. Steve Crook says:

    All I did was list some things that are far more likely to be significant factors.

    You leap to climate change denier. Yawn. Occam if nothing else.

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