The United Nations’s latest climate report says that manmade global warming is causing natural disasters, food crises, and the collapse of governments?
That’s what the New York Times reported on Sunday about the UN’s grim pronouncement on climate before deleting the claim in a subsequent version of the article without issuing a statement noting the correction.
“In the starkest language it has ever used, the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] made clear how far society remains from having any serious policy to limit global warming,” the Times reported of the UN climate report. The paper went on to state:
The report contained the group’s most explicit warning yet about the food supply, saying that climate change had already become a small drag on overall global production, and could become a far larger one if emissions continued unchecked…. [I]n recent years the world’s food system had shown signs of instability, with sudden price increases leading to riots and, in a few cases, the collapse of governments. [Emphasis added]
At least that’s what the Times article published on Sunday night said. A syndicated version published on the Alaska Dispatch News still makes the claim. But when The Daily Caller News Foundation looked again Monday morning, the claim that global warming was contributing to “the collapse of governments” was no longer there. A cached copy of the article shows it included the “collapse of governments” claim on Sunday night.
Neither article’s author nor the Times’s editors responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
Some scholars have tried arguing the Syrian civil war was sparked by global warming due to a drought that hit the country just as rebels began to fight back against the Assad regime. Some have argued that global warming is helping Islamic terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS.
The IPCC says that global warming “can indirectly increase risks of violent conflict by amplifying well-documented drivers of these conflicts, such as poverty and economic shocks… Multiple lines of evidence relate climate variability to these forms of conflict.” But there does not seem to be a reference to governments collapsing as a result of global warming.
Military experts have disputed claims that global warming is going to increase violent conflicts in vulnerable regions.
“There is no consensus in the scholarly or policy communities as to what factors specifically contribute to, much less cause, conflict,” William Martel, associate professor of international security studies at Tufts University, told TheDCNF last year when such claims were being reported.
Jeff Kueter, former president of the Marshall Institute, argued in a paper that for environmental factors to incite conflict there needs to be things like “repression, longstanding or simmering conflicts between two countries, [and] competition over other types of territory”:
What that methodology ignores and overlooks is the slow and gradual change in which most environmental things unwind, and it totally ignores the empirical evidence on the causes and correlates of conflict.
This report, by Michael Bastasch, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.