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The Nation: Carbon dioxide is “the other poison gas killing Syrians”

Many climate scientists argue that climate change triggered the Syrian civil war, but what's causing Syrians to kill each other? (Photo via AP)

Many climate scientists argue that climate change triggered the Syrian civil war, but what’s causing Syrians to kill each other? (Photo via AP)

Putting aside the arguments surrounding climate change, it is totally inappropriate to politicize the deaths of thousands of Syrian men, women, and children by the brutality of chemical weapons by making it into an argument about global warming.

Ultra-liberal site The Nation published a story titled “The Other Poison Gas Killing Syrians: Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” in which author Juan Cole puts the onus on President Trump to curb or stop the advance on climate change to end the Syrian civil war. Since the conflict began in March 2011, roughly half a million people have been killed and five million others have been displaced.

Cole opens up by citing the chemical weapons attack in Idlib, Syria in early April that led to the President issuing a military strike on a Syrian airfield days later. So, if Trump is willing to act when it’s an attack that impacts a few hundred people, perhaps he’s willing to act when it’s a few million (or even billion).

“…The president and most of his party are committed to increasing the daily release of hundreds of thousands of tons of a far more deadly gas—carbon dioxide. Climate scientist James Hansen has described our current emissions as like setting off 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs each day, every day of the year.”

While the argument that the massive drought helped create the conditions that set off the events of the Syrian civil war is convincing, it’s hard to ignore the reality that climate change isn’t the sole reason that’s driving people to kill each other. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as terrorist organizations like Jabhat al-Nusra and Daesh aren’t killing hundreds to thousands of people because of climate change. They’re killing people to increase or maintain their influence and power.

Sure, let’s solve climate change, but injecting that argument into every little aspect of the Syrian civil war, especially from chemical weapons, only creates more resentment and resistance to reaching that goal.

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