Prominent German Climate Scientist: “Climate Change A Wonderful Excuse” For Syria Conflict. Science “Not Suited” To Set Policy

Hans von Storch: “Unfortunately, impossible to prove all disasters are climate-related. Wars arise due to social causes

By Die kalte Sonne

(Text translated/edited by P. Gosselin)
An interview with Hans von Storch appeared in the Swiss Weltwoche on April 10, 2019. What follows are some excepts:

WELTWOCHE: The issue of climate change was obvious for them. One has the impression that there is no other topic, that climate change is the cause of all problems – war, poverty, injustice, bad weather.

VON STORCH: That is the popular narrative here in Northern Europe, but it is not true. The fact that people in large parts of Africa have no electricity supply has nothing to do with climate change. The conflict in Syria has something to do with French-British diplomacy a hundred years ago. Climate change is a wonderful excuse: It wasn’t the arbitrary borders that pulled imperialists and colonialists into the sand, it was climate change.

WELTWOCHE: Europeans cannot absolve themselves entirely, after all we are considered to be the main culprits of climate change.

VON STORCH: That’s a different kind of guilt. We certainly have the largest share of historical issues. But unfortunately it is impossible to prove that all disasters are climate-related. Wars arise due to social causes.


WELTWOCHE: What role does policymaking play? It often seems to exaggerate when it comes to climate change.

VON STORCH: It’s perfectly legitimate. Politics always exaggerates, it escalates. That’s part of the game. But it is no excuse for scientists to exaggerate. Science has a different social function. It should answer questions in its respective field of knowledge: What happens when citizens do what they do? But science is not expected to give instructions as to what should be done. Nor can science do that. As a scientist, I can say that if you do this, then you will get this in the field of climate. If you don’t want that, you have to think about what you want to do. I don’t give any instructions. That is the task of politics, and as a climate researcher I am not any more suited than any hairdresser, politician or journalist for assessing the overall social problem and the options for dealing with climate change.”


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