The Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, has resigned, finally relenting to weeks of massive protests. Is he the latest casualty of climate change?
This is a provacative question, but I believe one worth discussing. Obviously, there are always many factors in a people’s uprising, the precise balance of which will always be subjective and varied from protestor to protestor. But that doesn’t mean said factors can not be isolated and examined each on their own.
Like any extreme hot weather event, it is not possible to attribute this directly to a change in global climate, but like said weather event it is possible to identify contributing global factors, increases in probabilities, consistency with expectations. Political unrest is in fact an expectation of a rapidly changing climate, at least according to the US pentagon, and the chain of circumstances is not implausible or hard to follow. Erratic local climates lead to difficulties in food production, global or otherwise, which drive up the cost of living, which causes unrest in populations. When these populations are already restless due to poor economic conditions and inadequate human rights, this can trigger violent and non-violent popular uprisings.
Joe Romm brought this connection up in relation to Egypt, and though Serious People dismissively scoff at the very idea, I think he has a legitimate point. This is not a laughable notion in the least, it is a very legitimate topic for conversation. The thread at Collide-a-scape is revealing in the lack of serious rebuttal, there is little aside from argument by ridicule.
Where is the flaw in this chain of connections: climate change -> crop failures -> rising food prices -> political upheaval?