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Syria and Climate Change – Framing the Relationship

Syrian_Civil_WarMehmet Burke, senior writer at Relief Analysis Wire, recently wrote a compelling piece for InterAction on the best way to talk about and examine the complex interrelationship of climate change with other drivers of social unrest and vulnerability, such as in Syria. He argues:

…viewing the conflict as a “mosaic” of geopolitical, economic and climate connections can be a valuable way to approach potential links.

Burke extensively quotes our article on Syria from last year, and our recent multi-author volume “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” as part of his case. He closes:

In conclusion, viewing the entire mosaic of the Syria complex emergency is extremely important. In its entirety, [the] mosaic shows a picture of a complex, post-Arab Spring landscape of geopolitics, social upheaval, and political change. In that landscape, there are severe rain and snow events that have exacerbated the situation of the displaced, a massive drought that helped to catalyze rural migration and social instability, and a broader panorama of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian nations coping with uprisings linked to global food prices, as well as long-term concerns about sustainability, overpopulation and available water. Not every tile in the mosaic is causally correlated to climate change, but the entire picture points to increasing vulnerability.

That’s exactly right. Click here for the full article.


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