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Egypt and Global Warming

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFebruary 1, 2011 1:47 AM


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I guess it was inevitable that Joe Romm would find a way to link global warming to the popular uprising in Egypt. After taking heat from a few right wing blogs, Romm sketches out his equation:

The question is why specifically now have the Egyptians and Tunisians rioted after decades of anti-democratic rule? Certainly one can ignore the experts and say that it is a complete coincidence that the rioting occurred as food prices hit record levels "” in spite of the fact that the last time there was this kind of rioting globally food prices were at record levels, which is precisely why experts were predicting that record hide food prices would lead to riots. Now the question is, why are food prices are at record levels? Again, reality pretty much speaks for itself here. Extreme weather is a major contributing factor "” and our top climate scientists say global warming has contributed.

Let the record state that Egyptians have previously taken to the streets over food. For example, there were the "bread riots" in 1977, and in recent years the food riots in 2008 (which hit other parts of the world, as well). Was global warming involved in these instances, too? Has it even occurred to Romm that Egypt, after smoldering for decades under a repressive regime, was primed to erupt? In The New Republic, one analyst recently wrote:

It takes some hubris to write about events unfolding as fast as the protests in Egypt, especially when it's clear that nobody saw this coming.

Leaving aside that it takes some hubris to write a sentence like that, you also have to marvel at the hubris of someone who sees a global warming angle to the Egyptian revolt.

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