Horizon Social Media Analysis


COP21 to defeat terrorism

Could climate change be the real reason behind the current situation in Syria ? The opinion is gaining ground and is cited by Internet users as a reason why COP21 must be a success.

© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

The link between climate change and terrorism isn't initially obvious to most, but more and more Internet users seem to see some truth in it. According to data collected by COP21Horizon, the top argument used to define success at the conference is that of the need to defeat terrorism.


Bernie Sanders brought the argument to the fore in the American presidential campaign, by saying in a TV debate that climate change is “the biggest threat to the US national security.” The Democratic candidate argued that “climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. If we do not get our act together and listen to what scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops.”


The topic has also been discussed in other ranks of society. Along these lines, Prince Charles stated, “one of the main causes of those horrors in Syria is a drought that lasted five or six years, and urged a very high number of people to leave their land.”



Multiple escalating factors


Between 2006 and 2010, Syria went through its worst drought ever recorded, with 40% less rainfall than usual. It caused agriculture to collapse, and displaced a million and half Syrian farmers to more populated areas. This kind of situation makes it easier for ISIS to spawn and grow, especially in an area that is poor to begin with, according to a study published in the Proccedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


That being said, specialists emphasize that climate change is only one cause of instability among many. Nicolas Hulot, a widely recognized French environmentalist, talks about “multiple escalating factors.” “Uncontrolled climate change can be the spark that ignites tensions between communities,” he explained to the French magazine La Vie, emphasizing that other economic, social, political, ethnic, or religious factors also play a role. Without taking all of them into account, the situation is unlikely to change.