Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Bernie Sanders Refuses to Back Down on Climate-Terrorism Connection

Popular
Bernie Sanders Refuses to Back Down on Climate-Terrorism Connection

Despite being mocked by conservative media and Democratic operatives alike, Bernie Sanders is holding fast on his assertion that climate change is the greatest threat to national security and is "directly related to the growth of terrorism."

When asked during Saturday's debate if, in the wake of the Paris attacks, he still believed that "the global crisis of climate change" is our biggest threat, the Senator from Vermont responded: "Absolutely."

During an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday, Sanders elaborated further.

"If we are going to see an increase in drought, in flood, and extreme weather disturbances as a result of climate change, what that means is that people all over the world are going to be fighting over limited natural resources," he said. "If there is not enough water, if there is not enough land to grow your crops, then you're going to see migrations of people fighting over land that will sustain them. And that will lead to international conflict."

In Syria, for example, Sanders said that drought has driven people to migrate into cities. "When people migrate into cities and they don't have jobs, there's going to be a lot more instability, a lot more unemployment, and people will be subject to the types of propaganda that al Qaeda and ISIS are using right now," he said.

Sanders noted that this belief, which he originally stated during the first Democratic debate, is in fact shared by both the CIA and the U.S. Defense Department.

Writing for Slate, meteorologist Eric Holthaus said Sanders' response was not only "gutsy" but "also correct."

Holthaus continued:

Even though the wounds in Paris are still very fresh after Friday’s attacks, Sanders appropriately used this moment to highlight the current and future global tragedies that unmitigated climate change will surely cause. A landmark study earlier this year provided convincing evidence that a multiyear drought linked to global warming helped spark the catastrophic Syrian war, which helped give rise to ISIS. The Pentagon has consistently called climate change a “threat multiplier.”

While some analysts have tried to characterize  Sanders' argument as an "oversimplification" of the issue, academics and security experts have been documenting this phenomenon for years.

Christian Parenti, who authored the book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, on Monday warned: "The growing crisis of war and state breakdown in the Middle East is partially driven by climate change. We have to deal with climate change—that is, drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions—or face escalating chaos."

As western nations on Sunday launched a swift and ill-advised military response to last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, Sanders' climate focus stood in stark contrast.

"If we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say," he warned Saturday, "you're going to see countries all over the world ... struggling with limited amounts of water, limited amount of land to grow their crops ... You're going to see all sorts of international conflict."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

10 Photos Show the Reality of a Warming Planet

13-Year-Old Sues North Carolina, Asks Judge to Force State to Take Action on Climate Change

Why Fossil Fuel Stocks Are Doomed

3 Key Ingredients for the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch