- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2015

Charles, Prince of Wales, has blamed Syrian instability and the subsequent refugee crisis on climate change and the global community’s lack of action during the last few decades.

The heir to the British throne told Sky News during an interview scheduled to air Monday that long-term environmental changes have resulted in a scarcity of resources in Syria that has fueled instability in the region in recent years, echoing recent comments from two of the top Democratic presidential hopefuls.

“We’re seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem, because, I mean, it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues, you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move,” Prince Charles said.

“And, in fact, there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough, was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land,” he added.

When asked by Sky News if he believes there’s a direct correlation between climate change and the intensifying conflict in Syria, Prince Charles said “it has a huge impact on what is happening.”

“It’s only in the last few years that the Pentagon has actually started to pay attention to this,” he stated. “I mean, the difficulty is sometimes to get this point across — that if we just leave it and say, well there are obviously lots of, there are endless problems arising all over the place, therefore we deal with them in a short-term way, we never deal with the underlying root cause which regrettably is what we’re doing to our natural environment.”

Sky News has billed its interview with the prince as his only sit-down ahead of next week’s United Nations climate summit in Paris.

“After the conference, it’s going to be very difficult I think to get agreement on the necessary reductions and the necessary actions that need to be taken to keep global warming at two degrees, or ideally below. So we then have to follow up, this is the key, and ratchet up the commitments after the Paris conference,” he said.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders have previously attributed climate change with instability in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS.

Mr. Sanders said during a televised Democratic debate this month that climate change is “directly related to the growth of terrorism.”

“If we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re gonna see countries all over the world — this is what the CIA says — they’re gonna be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops,” the Vermont independent said. “And you’re gonna see all kinds of international conflict.”

Mr. O’Malley, former Maryland governor, told Bloomberg TV in July that “one of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria and the rise of ISIS was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that region, wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis.”


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