Conflict in Syria and the Climate Change Narrative
According to Nafeez Ahmed at the Guardian, "the age of climate warfare is here. The military-industrial complex is ready. Are you?"
Ah yes, the climate wars are upon us.
Ahmed refers to a new research paper by Peter Gleick which "demonstrates clearly that the Syrian conflict is not just a climate war, or a resource war, but a water war. Between 2006 and 2011, the country suffered the worst long-term drought and the most severe set of crop failures in recorded history."
Wait a minute. Syria suffered "the most severe set of crop failures in recorded history" during the period between 2006 and 2011?
According to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service report on Syria in May 2010, "Syria appears poised to produce a record winter grain harvest in 2010/11. Above normal rainfall over the bulk of the winter growing season, as well as warmer than normal temperatures, provided generally ideal grain growing conditions."
The USDA report on Syria even shows the following map of October 2009-April 2010 rainfall distribution across the country. It appears that almost all of Syria received above average rainfall over this period -- in some cases more than 200 percent of normal.
This doesn't sound consistent with a six-year-long drought and crop failure apocalypse.
Even the previous USDA's 2009 report on Syria noted that "normal to above normal rainfall in western and northern wheat growing areas [between October 2008 and April 2009] helped improve overall grain production prospects this year."
The real evidence will lie in Syria's crop production data over the past several decades to determine if, in fact, Syria suffered "the most severe set of crop failures in recorded history" during the period "between 2006 and 2011."
The following figures use United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization data (FAOSTAT) to show the annual and six-year running average wheat and barley yields, production, and area harvested since 1961 in Syria. Wheat and barley account for nearly two-thirds of Syria's cropped area.
I see no evidence that -- between 2006 and 2011 -- Syria experienced "the most severe set of crop failures in recorded history." And one can imagine that recorded history in Syria can go back quite some time (i.e., well before the UN statistics start in 1961). The agricultural production from 2006 to 2011 wasn't even the worst over this short post-1961 time frame, never mind whatever all of "recorded history" could potentially mean in this part of the world. The graphs above alone rebut the hysterical claims: quod erat demonstrandum.
But this is the narrative that the climate war alarmists have been trying to spin for some time now, namely, that the conflicts in Syria and throughout this region over the past several years have been climate change induced.