‘The science says Prince Charles is a fool to blame global warming for the Islamic State’
Let’s fact-check this claim.
The International Food Policy Research Institute warns that overpopulation and overstocking in the arid Middle East will make droughts worse:
Drought is a recurrent and often devastating threat to the welfare of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where three – quarters of the arable land has less than 400 mm of annual rainfall, and the natural grazings, which support a majority of the 290 million ruminant livestock, have less than 200 mm. Its impact has been exacerbated in the last half century by the human population increasing yearly at over 3%, while livestock numbers have risen by 50% over the quinquennium.
Australian researchers predict global warming will actually bring more rain to key parts of the Middle East:
The prospect of climate change sparking food shortages and water wars in the Middle East is less likely than previously thought, with new UNSW research suggesting that rainfall will be significantly higher in key parts of the region.
Syria gets a drought – like it so often does – albeit one more prolonged than most:
“Israel is no longer drying up and the severe drought ended two years ago,” Water Commissioner Alexander Kushnir told “Globes TV” today [October 2, 2013]. “We’re emerging from the drought, and the water sector has stabilized at a supply rate for the next 10-15 years.”
We’re reminded that far worse has happened in Syria before, without man-made emissions being blamed:
The Akkadian empire flourished in the third millennium BC. Sometime around 2,200 BC drought hit, the lands dried and people migrated from urban centres. The government then collapsed, and the mighty empire began to falter in a series of calamities collectively referred to as the third-millennium Mesopotamian urban crisis.
In fact, the IPCC concedes there is little evidence that global warming (which has paused for 18 years) has brought more droughts around the world:
In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century…. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated.
The harvest in Syria this year is again good, leading the United Nations World Food Programme to plead for a ceasefire to let farmers bring it in and transport the food to where it’s needed.
More evidence that global warming is not causing food shortages but, if anything, record harvests. The US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service/has just reported that the world’s wheat production has just set “a new record” and world corn production “is up”. Rice production is only very slightly below the record harvests of 2013/2014. Corn production this year in Turkey, Syria’s northern neighbour, sets a record.
Similar picture from the International Grains Council of increasing food production in this era of “global warming”:
So let’s sum up. There’s been no statistically significant warming for 18 years. No one is sure whether more warming will bring more rain or less to the Middle East. There is little evidence that warming of world over the last century has brought more droughts, although Syria had a bad drought that ended four years ago, before the rise of the Islamic State. Democratic Israel survived the drought without difficulty. Syria is much more vulnerable to drought with so many more poor farmers and livestock. Syria has had worse droughts before. World food crops are actually increasing.
Prince Charles is a reckless scaremonger and denier of the science