UK
06/03/2015 07:46 GMT | Updated 06/03/2015 08:59 GMT

Russell Brand Says Terrorism Is Created By Climate Change

Russell Brand poses an intriguing question in his latest online news broadcast, musing: “ISIS vs climate change – which kills more?”

As Brand rightly points out, stories about climate change fail to inspire the same visceral reactions as, say, coverage of terror attacks and uprisings.

But he quotes sobering figures from climate change group DARA, which estimates deaths related to global warming in 2010 amounted to 5 million.

russell brand

Russell Brand addresses the links between terrorism and climate change

The number marks a sharp contrast to reports which claim 26 Americans were killed in jihadi attacks in the US in the last 10 years.

And Brand cites an unlikely ally in this debate – in the form of US President Barack Obama.

Obama gave a lengthy Vox interview last month in which when asked if the media “sometimes overstates” the risks posed by terrorism as opposed to climate change and epidemic disease, he replied: “Absolutely.”

He added: “Climate change is one that is happening at such a broad scale and at such a complex system, it’s a hard story for the media to tell on a day-to-day basis.”

syria drought

Farmers in the drought-hit region of Hasaka in northeastern Syria in 2010

Brand references a recent National Academy of Sciences study which traces the conflict that has torn Syria apart in part, to a record drought worsened by global warming.

Climate change leading to crop failures, hunger, anger and dissent are, he says: “The perfect condition there for terrorism, for mayhem.”

Given that the Syrian conflict has resulted in the deaths of 210,000 and the displacement of 10million, Brand asks: “These events occur because of conditions, so if climate change is causing five million deaths and terrorism is causing 26 deaths, why is climate change largely being ignored and terrorism being vehemently promoted?”

The answer, Brand says is his ever-present foe: The carbon emission-pumping behemoth that is capitalism.

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Brand points the finger squarely at big businesses like Exxon, which he alleges: “Last year made $44.9bn, make that money as a direct result of 210,000 people being killed and 10 million people being displaced in Syria because their social conditions are being destroyed because of climate change."

He adds: “So the truth that terrorism is a problem created by climate change and not as bad a problem as the climate change itself, that truth is never revealed because the politicians have been bribed and the media makes money from that situation.”

A number of Brand's followers were not convinced by his argument, but links between climate change and conflict are not new.

Last October, then-US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a Pentagon report that made exactly that point. "Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline, and trigger waves of mass migration," Hagel said.

Also, last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded: "Human security will be progressively threatened as the climate changes."

Brand signs off with the following suggested checklist for President Obama:

  • Withdraw troops from the Middle East.

  • Make it illegal to profit from Middle Eastern interests and limit involvement solely to humanitarian.

  • Invest in green energy.

  • Make it illegal to have media conglomerates which dominate the global narrative.