Green Weenie of the Week: The Los Angeles Times

I know most of you have heard that climate change caused the civil war in Syria. Because of course if it was 10 degrees cooler or there were 10 more inches of rain a year, all of those tribes and Islamic factions would join hands and sing Kumbaya, or whetever that translates to in Arabic. All these centuries of fighting with each other were apparently just practice for the coming of climate change.

Well, the Los Angeles Times has said, “Hold my beer, I can top that!” You need to read this story, not to believe it:

Seeing the devastation of climate change in the ruins of Aleppo

By San Stier

The political situation in Syria is contemptible, the impact of war on human lives horrendously tragic, all silently conveyed in the aftermath captured on video. It also captured something more subtle, something that could easily go unnoticed: Aleppo was built almost entirely of concrete. Concrete dominated every shot. That observation might seem strange, but bear with me.

Okay, I’ll bite.

The amount of fossil fuel required to make cement is astonishing: Producing 1 ton of concrete, about a cubic yard, uses the equivalent of 400 pounds of coal. The concrete industry accounts for 5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. When I see all the concrete used to build Aleppo, I think of what has been released into the air to produce it. . .

In Aleppo, the blasted concrete walls are not just an outcome of conflict. They are also, unexpectedly, part of the cause. And however remote and disconnected from our lives places and conflicts like Aleppo seem, the physical rules and conditions that create tragedy there also apply here.  The world’s troubled places aren’t outliers in human history: They’re harbingers. They underscore a lesson history keeps trying to teach us: A deep, unshakable pursuit of sustainability is essential for lasting peace and prosperity. Anything less and humans can expect a growing litany of miseries.

Talk about blaming the victim. If only those ISIS folks could be persuaded of the virtues of sustainable development, peace would break out all over. Heck, if Syria had built Aleppo out of wood and paper instead of concrete, the war would have been over a couple years ago since the place would have all burned down to the ground like the paper and wood Japanese cities in World War II.

Worth one more dip into this dippiness:

From numerous studies, scientists know that climate destablization — from the burning of fossil fuels in places such as the U.S., China and India — is causing drought in the Middle East. [In fact we know no such thing, but never mind.] In fact, for the last decade or so, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean have been in the midst of their worst drought in nine centuries. The effect has been to turn Syria’s once-productive soil into hard-baked clay. Since 2008, food prices in Syria have increased an average of 26% a year. A million farmers have lost their livelihoods. Desperate young men from the countryside have crowded into the cities, seeking a means to survive.

Strange how we haven’t seen food inflation and soil and farming collapse in Israel, which is in the same neighborhood and has experienced the same general climate change as Syria. It’s almost as if there might be other factor at work in the fortunes of nations. But if you’re a climatista, no need to think very hard, because climate change explains everything, and fixing it will fix everything.

I’m starting to wonder whether Gary Johnson had the right disposition about Aleppo after all.


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