It’s widely accepted—at least by those who accept global warming as fact—that climate change contributed to the outbreak of Syria’s civil war. Now, according to experts interviewed by Scott Waldman of E&E News, it appears that climate change has also played a key role in Iran’s current round of political protest.
Iranians have plenty else to protest, with a repressive government topping the list. But Iranians have struggled with 14 years of drought—14! They’ve also experienced heat waves of nearly unimaginable intensity, with one city recording a temperature of 129 degrees Fahrenheit last summer (perhaps a tie for the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth). Heat hits the poor especially hard. Drought is toughest on farmers—a conservative segment of society that has supported the government in the past. Not right now.
Again, no one claims that climate change alone has sparked the protests. Indeed, the proximate cause was the high price of chicken eggs, itself caused by a bad outbreak of bird flu. But in the Middle East—a region projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to get 5 degrees Celsius hotter by century’s end and to receive 20 percent less rainfall than it does today… well, it might behoove regional governments to exit the fossil fuel business long before the oil runs out.