“SEEING THE DEVASTATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE RUINS OF ALEPPO” – Some people look at the ruins of Aleppo and see the devastation of war; op-ed writers for Los Angeles Times see the devastation of climate change:
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, 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.
In 2011, Syrians in Aleppo took to the streets. Discontent, hunger, unemployment and corruption fed the civil war and the ranks of extremists, including Islamic State. In Syria, a change in climate has disintegrated a society in a handful of years.
Like fascism, which as the saying goes, is always descending on America but somehow always lands in Europe, climate change destabilises the whole world but somehow only leads to bloody civil wars and jihadism in a few choice locations throughout the Middle East. On the positive side, you can blame the United States (and China and India, if you are as generous as the LA Times) for causing the bloodshed.
But wait, the op-ed’s author Sam Stier gets even better:
I recently followed a drone through the ruined Syrian city of Aleppo, courtesy of YouTube. The destruction was sobering, to say the least. The camera glided by exploded apartment buildings and streets piled with rubble, block after city block.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.Of all the multitudinous things we humans manufacture, concrete is among the most common. To make it, we dynamite limestone out of the Earth’s crust and cook it at 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. This produces cement, the adhesive component of concrete. Heat changes limestone’s molecular structure, making it reactive with water, so a bag of gray powder and some aggregate, like rock or sand, can be conveniently turned back into a strong solid of any shape with water from a garden hose.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.
So you see, the Syrians were really just asking for it: they built their city out of concrete, in the process releasing lots of greenhouse gasses, which caused the draught in their country, which caused the civil war, which destroyed their concrete city.
And who says there is no justice in the world?