One million refugees, more than 70,000 dead, scores injured, billions of dollars lost in destroyed homes, businesses and livelihoods: the net total, to date, of the conflict that started quietly in March 2011.
Its seeds, argue some scientists, were sown five years ago in a wretched drought.
That is the foundation of an essay by Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell of the Center for Climate and Security in Washington. It is part of a study released recently by the Center for American Progress titled “The Arab Spring and Climate Change.”Nowhere is the connection between climate change and conflict more apparent than in Syria.
In 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) produced a report showing the Mediterranean littoral — the region along the shore — and the Middle East had drought conditions directly related to climate change.
“We looked at the map and Syria was just bright red,” says Femia in a phone interview from Washington. The red indicated it was a long-term drought and Syria was suffering the most.
Should we count 70,000 mortality from climate wars already?
The Toronto Star in its turn neglects to link to the easily found CAP white paper, released last month.