An historic drought in Syria led to that nation’s civil war, which, in turn, helped Brexit pass in England, according to former United States Vice President Al Gore who explained his theory at a conference in London this week.
Gore, who has long argued that humans are causing climate change, won an Oscar for his climate-change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“From 2006 to 2010, 60 percent of the farms in Syria were destroyed and had to be abandoned. Eighty percent of the livestock were killed. The drought in the eastern Mediterranean is the worst ever recorded,” Gore said according to several press reports.
The drought, Gore says, forced more than a million Syrians into cities where they “collided” with refugees from the Iraq War, setting the stage for the Syrian Civil War. Gore said that WikiLeaks documents revealed internal conversations among the Syrian government.
“They were saying to one another, ‘We can’t handle this. There’s going to be a social explosion.’ There are other causes of the Syrian civil war,” Gore said, “but this was the principle one.”
That conflict, which began in July 2011, has killed more than 450,000 Syrians and displaced more than 12 million Syrians, according to Al-Jazeera. CNN reports more than 4.8 million Syrians have left the country due to the conflict, which started as a government crackdown in response to protests.
Many of those fleeing the country have migrated to Europe, creating crises in several European nations. That, Gore says, helped lead to Brexit. In June of 2016, citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Many linked the ongoing refugee crisis to the vote to leave.
“It has unleashed with other factors this incredible flow of refugees into Europe, which is creating political instability in Europe,” Gore said, “and which contributed in some ways to the desire of some in the U.K., to say, ‘Wow, we’re not sure we want to be a part of that anymore.’ ”
The Trump administration does not share Gore’s views on human-caused climate change and has already rolled back numerous Obama-era environmental protections.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt told CNBC that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, said climate change research programs are “a waste of your money” while unveiling Trump’s first budget proposal.
“Regarding the questions as to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward. We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that,” Mulvaney said.