The Kelley et al study is increasingly looking like a politically bought panic paper, designed to send out a certain message and mislead the public.
What is especially tragic about the whole nonsense is that the paper only serves to shift the focus away from the real causes behind the worsening tragedy in the Syrian region.
A couple of days ago I wrote about a Spiegel piece that shredded the paper and exposed it as very shoddy work of science.
At Twitter the author of the Spiegel piece, Axel Bojanowski, got a reply from another rather high caliber German journalist, Gabor Paal, who confirms that the situation in Syria has much less to do with climate change, and much more to do with lousy land-use and agricultural practices.
.@Axel_Bojanowski ich war 2008 in syrien. Forscher aquirierten Gelder mit Verweis auf "klimawandel". Landnutzung war eindeutig größeres Prob
— Gabor Paal (@GaborPaal) March 9, 2015
On March 7 Bojanowski wrote:
Did climate change really spark the Syria War as claimed? The basis for that is flimsy.”
On March 9, Paal responded to Bojanowski:
@Axel_Bojanowski I was in Syria in 2008. Scientists acquired funding with reference to ‘climate change’. Land-use was clearly the bigger problem.”
So what we have here is yet another journalist casting grave doubt on the claims made by Kelley et al.
Paal provided the link to a 2008 radio documentary on Syria he had produced with the focus on the crop failures that the Middle Eastern country had been experiencing and their causes. The radio documentary was featured at SWF South German Broadcasting. Throughout the documentary the emphasis on the reasons for the crop problems in Syria was squarely on land-use and poor agricultural practices, with climate change not playing any real role.
The documentary begins by explaining how Syria is divided into 5 different climate zones. In Zone 5, the largest and most arid, groundwater has been pumped out to such an extent that vegetation can no longer thrive. At the 10-minute mark:
More than half the country belongs to Zone 5, the steppes and desert region. Here it rains less than 200 mm per year. Zone 5 is government property. There are no privets lots. Agriculture would be possible here only with irrigation, but the water table has dropped so much that the steppes have become so barren that the government has forbidden all use. The blame for this is not climate change, but rather the way the land is managed.”
The documentary explains how 75% of all farmers raise sheep to earn a living, and that millions of sheep are living where less than 150 mm of rain falls yearly. Vegetation has no chance. “15 – 20% of the steppes are lost and maybe we cannot recover them.” The documentary adds that there are 15 million sheep in Syria and that the figure is 4 times more than 10 years ago.
“Media fixated on climate”
Another problem the region faced, Paal said, was the threat of the UG 99 fungus that threatened the region’s grain crop.
At the very end of the SWR report Paal stated:
In the public media reporting, agricultural research has not made any progress. The media are fixated on climate and the focus on the ground beneath their feet has been lost. And now in the wake of the food crisis, international agricultural reseach has the chance to benefit once again.”
Today, some 7 years later, Kelley et al tells us that this has not come to pass – tragically. The focus still remains on the bogus problem of climate change and people are suffering more unimaginable misery than ever because of it.
Someone needs to go to jail.