Droughts and the Arab Spring

I recently read the most tangible example of how climate change is affecting our world. It put things into perspective just in that it wasn’t about sea levels or this or that part of the world being warmer.

How?

In recent years, Russia has been experiencing drought much akin to southern California. It has been ravaging crops. Now usually, Russia is an exporter of grain and some of that grain goes to the Arab world. But just before the Arab Spring in 2010 there were spikes in grain prices due to the droughts that Russia was facing. And these droughts, argue climate experts, (http://rt.com/business/grain-prices-hike-crisis-464/) are directly linked with man-made climate change… if you so happen to believe in that mumbo jumbo.

And so climate change makes grain a little harder to grow, which makes it more expensive in Russia, which makes it more expensive to already-poor Arab populations, which in turn piles another reason on the camel’s back for people to revolt and create the Arab Spring.  To me, that’s just such a clear and apparent chain reaction.

Now maybe the Arab Spring would have happened without the food price pressure. But I’d prefer to err on the side of caution when doing so, correct or wrong, brings a small downside, while not doing so, brings enormous downside risk (in the case of being wrong).

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