Climate and Rogue States Not Smoothly Linked

Climate and Rogue States Not Smoothly Linked

January 17, 2010
Originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Marshall Saunders argues that fighting climate change is important for national security because warmer temperatures will cause food and water crises in poor countries, thereby leading to failed states - the breeding ground of terrorists ("Warmer world could bring terror to a boil," Thursday).

While global warming-induced terrorism makes for an alarming thesis, Saunders provides scant evidence, save for the possibility that melting Himalayan glaciers could deprive "nuclear-armed" Pakistan of drinking water.

That's an interesting example, in light of recent research in the scientific journal Annals of Glaciology suggesting that 230 glaciers in the western Himalayas - the region closest to Pakistan - are holding steady, and in fact, seem to be growing.

Whereas the causal connection between climate change and failed states is unclear from Saunders' article, the link between doing something about climate change and social unrest is well-established.

Thanks to environmentalist "biofuel" policies to lower the carbon footprint of driving, developed countries are burning massive amounts of food as a motor fuel. This was a major cause of the price spike in corn, wheat, and rice during the summer of 2008 that triggered riots in Egypt, Indonesia, and Mexico.

Thus, the climate cure has proven more dangerous than the disease.