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« Unbalanced - Josh 344 | Main | Gauges versus satellites »

On Syria and climate change

Never a man to let a good crisis go to waste, Barry Gardiner MP is trying to use the deaths of Syrian migrants to advance his climate change agenda. If we want to understand the crisis, he says, we must look beyond Assad and ISIL to the weather and the "ruined farmers" - hundreds of thousands of them apparently - who left Syria's wheat belt for the cities. We learn, moreover, that 2010 was during the longest drought in Syria's records.

Now take a look at a graph of Syrian wheat production (data from here).

Tells a rather different story doesn't it? You can see that the drought wasn't actually in 2010 at all, but rather in 2007/8 and, although rainfall remained sub-par thereafter, by 2009 wheat production had recovered to near normal levels and remained there for several years.

Perhaps there is more to this than meets Mr Gardiner's eye.

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Reader Comments (40)

Comments like his push concern about AGW a little further away each time.

Sep 4, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

It is a sad indication of the tragic circumstances surrounding failing climate change propaganda, that the enthusiasm for making stuff up is undiminished, despite all the evidence pointing to fraud.

Sep 4, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The BBC news featured extensive footage last week, of migrants getting into brand new inflatable dinghies, with brand new paddles, wearing brand new lifejackets on a beach in the night.

I am sure that the BBC would not want to film something in breach of BBC Health and Safety rules for employees, but it did seem a bit stage managed, especially when the same BBC, were still present on the same beach as the same dinghy returned.

There is nothing like death and tragedy, that the BBC and journalists won't exploit, when it suits them.

The BBC expects public sympathy to save their lifestyles.

Sep 4, 2015 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Nothing new under the sun. The best defence against inevitable periodical droughts is money. Money to buy food from elsewhere. A total drought in the UK would not result in mass starvation because we are relatively wealthy as a result of our, largely fossil-fueled, industrial revolution.

An absence of war usually helps, too. Not wanting to be too rude about the MP, but only a dipstick doesn't realise that before they leave school.

Sep 4, 2015 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Oddly enough the Guardian had a good article back in 2011 on food prices and a recent factor driving their rise, biofuel production. So it may not be climate change but climate change solutions that are driving unrest in under developed countries.

Sep 4, 2015 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

This is a bit like those who argue that we have an obesity crisis because everyone is being starved by the heartless uncaring government...

Sep 4, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder


"stage managed"

I had a similar feeling about the photo of the hapless Syrian boy washed up on the beach in Turkey. His position at the exact edge of the water, and the absence of the usual flotsam around him, was just a little too tidy for comfort, leading to the uncomfortable thought that he had been cleaned up and 'repositioned' for the photo. No doubt the photographer will be rewarded for his scoop, but what about the surviving family?

Sep 4, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

There was indeed a run-up in the cost of food in the late 2000s worldwide, in no small part courtesy of pro-biofuel policies. More on this can be found in Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries? Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 16 (1): 9–13 (2011). The references in that would also be interesting.

Sep 4, 2015 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterIndur M. Goklany

The effect of biofuel on food costs and the effects of droughts do not seem to be the determining factor in the cause of civil war.

There was no uprising in Brazil. No uprising in Malawi. No uprising in Singapore.

But there was in Libya, Nigeria and Indonesia.

It seems that culture, not climate, determines whether a state is viable or not.

Sep 4, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

michael hart
I can't see any reason why you should not be rude about Barry Gardiner. He is a global warming fanatic and possibly insulting him is the only way to get him to listen to reason. I think most of his constituents (and certainly the couple I know) have tried to talk sense into him on a variety of subjects on a number of occasions without success.

Sep 4, 2015 at 3:27 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Cameron was (and is) keen to bomb Syria and has learned nothing from his disastrous bombing adventure in Libya.
He modelled himself on Tony Blair and thinks that Blair's Yugoslavia and Iraq policies should be copied.

There has been a dangerous move away from the United Nations principle of 'non intervention in the internal affairs of foreign governments'

Today's TV news provides ample evidence that the leaders of the EU are clueless and stumble from crisis to crisis.

Its very depressing and there seems little hope of a change of direction and the consequences will land us all in sh**.

Cameron and Obama seem to be getting dragged behind Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey into supporting the Sunni side in a sectarian Muslim showdown.
A combination of right wing conservatives and left wing labour MPs could see where this was all leading and stopped Cameron bombing the Assad faction in the Syrian civil war.

Cameron blames Assad for the current mass refugee crisis.
He also thinks he is entirely innocent of any contribution to the current middle east humanitarian catastrophe.

Sep 4, 2015 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Sep 4, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Registered Commenter jamesp I am inclined to agree with you, Jamesp. Surely anyone who saw a baby face down in the water would rush over and pick it up and try to revive it in some way. If that was not working any normal human would carry the body up the beach to a safe point. When I see that photo I can only think that the baby was placed back in the water for the benefit of, or at the request of, press photographers. Anyone who took part in a vile charade like that is beyond redemption in my opinion.

Sep 4, 2015 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

The main problem for Syria is its population explosion.

Year Population
1950 3.25 million
1960 4.6 million
1970 6.7 million
1980 8.7 million
1990 12.1 million
2000 15 million
2010 20 million

The Assad regime made matters worse by imposing a soviet style centrally planned
economy ensuring that it grew far more slowly than neighbouring states such as
Israel and Lebanon. It will suit Assad nicely if a quarter of the population dies off or
leaves Syria.

Sep 4, 2015 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

Well clearly quite a bit of Syria has not been touched by the war because wheat production has held up reasonably well. Farmers rarely plant when they have no expectation of being able to harvest. Maybe things aren't as bad as the MSM would have us believe? Maybe many of the people claiming to be refugees are no such thing. Maybe climate change has nothing much to do with anything?

Sep 4, 2015 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Shouldn't this Gardiner chap just stick to flogging Cillit Bang?

Sep 4, 2015 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Hans Rosling: Where Are the Syrian Refugees? - Factpod #17

After the tragic crisis in Syria, more than half of all Syrians have left their homes. Where are they?

Sep 4, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Most are in Syria and neighbouring countries if history is anything to go by.

Sep 4, 2015 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Yes, SandyS. Most go as far as they have too and no further., Running is hard.

According to the UNHCR there are over a million Syrian Refugees in neighbouring Lebanon.
That's 5% of the population right there.

The war is real. The war is bad.

The question is do we pick up the pieces and take in the innocent?
Or do we join Putin in picking a side and joining in to win (and so end the anarchy)?

There aren't any other options that I can see. Please give me one.

Sep 4, 2015 at 5:38 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

The immigrant and economic crises are all part of the plan. But physics became Stalin's most frightening tool after WWII and remains so today. See:



ResearchGate gives followers of the -99.97% consensus community an opportunity to respond to empirical evidence:

_ a) The Sun's internal composition
_ b) The definition of nuclear stability

Check the above ResearchGate link to see how many have responded.

Sep 4, 2015 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterOliver K. Manuel

Global Warming washed up on a Turkish beach

Sep 4, 2015 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBing Goe

Oliver K. Manuel, there is NO PLAN. Just stupidity all the way down.

Bing Goe, no it didn't.

Sep 4, 2015 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Sep 4, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Registered Commenter jamesp

[...] position at the exact edge of the water, and the absence of the usual flotsam around him, was just a little too tidy for comfort [...]

You know, much to my shame, while I certainly had seen this now "iconic" pic, this had not occurred to me.

So, I thank you for providing this additional perspective which I've now added to my recent post on this - and related matters as seen in the view from here, so to speak.

Sep 4, 2015 at 8:21 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Another warmist blaming the people of the West for every crime under the sun. If I wasn't already a sceptic I'd become one over this bit of vile moral blackmail. Keep it up lads. Destroy every ounce of your credibility and the public's good will. A bit more of an effort and you can Scientology and the Poll Tax for popularity.

Sep 4, 2015 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Link to Hans Rosling on Syrian Refugees ...

Sep 5, 2015 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

jamesp and hilary ostrov

I do not doubt that people are dying in tragic circumstances, and feel very angry about it.

Exploiting a childs death for political purposes also makes me very angry.

As refugees make their way to the colder parts of Europe, they will be surprised and angry to be told they can't use heating in their new homes, because fossil fuels caused the conflict that made them refugees. The BBC and other news organisations are unlikely to film those confrontations.

The BBC does not film the dead bodies of the elderly in Britain, particularly those that die in properties they can't afford to heat in winter.

The BBC is excelling at double double standards at the moment, so I was intrigued by their reporting the Hungarians saying it was Muslims who they did not want as refugees, as they did not mix well with other Hungarians. This is a statement most of the EU would not make, for fear of offending anyone who decides to be easily offended.

Bungling interference by the EU's left of centre stance is creating the environment for many to take a step to the right. It is sad for all that the BBC has become part of the EU's left of centre step aerobics, and does not understand what it is doing. They will blame everybody else of course.

Sep 5, 2015 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Well It can’t be Climate Change™ Israel has also experienced drought conditions, the lowest winter rainfall on record I believe, but there hasn’t been a great exodus of refugees, recently.

Sep 5, 2015 at 1:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Chris Hanley, modern Israel hardly looks like the "Promised Land" described in the Bible. Its agriculture is a success story for modern irrigation. It remains probable that climate has changed for better and worse during biblical history. War, during and since biblical history has also caused the occasional exodus and return.

But according to the BBC and Grauniad, it is all the fault of climate change in Syria, and the Tories.

Sep 5, 2015 at 2:20 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

'golf charlie' (2:20 AM) look I agree Israel, an island of sanity in an insane part of the world, serves as a model of how intelligently to deal with climate change (as opposed to Climate Change™).

Sep 5, 2015 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley
Sep 5, 2015 at 9:20 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

By 2009 many of the small holders had been chased off their lands

Sep 5, 2015 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

This was shared on my Facebook stream:

Sep 6, 2015 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

It's worth noting that a survey on leaving the EU has had its first yes vote. It seems that frantically pressing people's guilt button has had the opposite effect.

Sep 6, 2015 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

TinyCO2, Another EUreka moment. The BBC's failing political propaganda is not as subversive as it used to be.

Do the BBC get funding from the EU? Directly or indirectly? Or is it just lavish entertainment with a political twist?

Sep 6, 2015 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The BBC know it's all slipping away from them. Watch how they stash money and back catalogue in the existing independent arms, in preparation for someone with more guts than Cameron comes along. They're alternately delighted and terrified by Corbyn. On the one side they love his policies. On the other they're scared that Labour will never get back in and the Conservatives get their long awaited revenge.

In other news.

"Britain’s foreign aid budget will be used to help councils resettle refugees
The Chancellor says there will be a "fundamental rethink" about how the foreign aid budget can be diverted to failed states in order to best serve Britain’s national interests."

We'll see if common sense prevails.

Sep 6, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Todays TV news makes it clear Cameron wants to bomb Assad as well as IS.
In other words he is lining up with the Sunni faction in this civil war.
This makes some evil perverse sense as Britain is a major arms exporter to the other Sunni nations, Saudi Arabia,Kuwait,Pakistan and the Gulf States.

I don't think he has anything personal against the Shia's , Alawite and other minority factions but business is business.

The whole adventure smacks of the gross incompetence that characterised the Libya fiasco.
The taxpayers of the UK will have to pay for the initial and long term foolishness of the present policy.

Our only hope is that right wing conservative and left wing labour MP's who can see where all this is leading will unite and put a stop to it once again.
Why is it that the only the more radical MP's sense danger here?
The cosy career politician's who dominate the centre of politics don't have a critical mindset or think beyond the next election.
The same is true for those that question the CAGW proposition.

What we should support is a broad international coalition backed by a UN resolution and to including USA and other NATO countries, Iran, Russia, China to eliminate IS .
Then push for a political settlement and free internationally supervised elections to form a representative government.

Sep 6, 2015 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Oi, my lord Bishop, that graph looks suspiciously like a hockey stick.

Sep 6, 2015 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

The reason for the farmer's trouble was the neglect of the Syrian government to control the water reserves of the farmlands in Syria.
The villagers pumped water with makeshift wells like there's no tomorrow and emptied the reserves.
Syria is half desert to begin with so water was not that abundant in the first place.
Besides - the chaos started in Tunisia and Libya and spread from there to the rest of the Muslim world - how is that related to rain in Syria?

Sep 6, 2015 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterEyal Porat

Eyal Porat, it is all due to global warming because Emma Thompson said so. If you don't believe Emma, you can check with Greenpeace, who told her what to think, and brainwashed her into believing she was not a gullible fool.

Sep 6, 2015 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


My brief researches led me to reach pretty much that conclusion.

Sep 6, 2015 at 9:43 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

@Bryan What Sep 6, 2015 at 2:10 PM
we should support is a broad international coalition backed by a UN resolution and to including USA and other NATO countries, Iran, Russia, China to eliminate IS .
Then push for a political settlement and free internationally supervised elections to form a representative government.

<sarc>Well it was a resounding success in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Rhodesia, South Africa....., so clearly the best solution.</sarc>

Talking of "stage managed", those migrants lined up in Hungary with signs saying "Germany" ie in English, not in German, Hungarian or Syrian.

Sep 7, 2015 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

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