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Climate Change Scapegoat: Professor Prakash & Colleague Author Article for Slate

Submitted by Caterina Rost on October 24, 2016 - 3:38pm

What is the problem with blaming wars and natural disasters on global warming? UW Political Science Professor Aseem Prakash and his colleague Nives Dolšak from the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs address this question in an article they wrote for the online magazine Slate.

In the piece, they discuss several cases for which climate change has been brought up as a critical causal factor, such as the war in Syria, the Oso landslide in Washington state, and massive floods in Chennai, India. They conclude:

“Climate change is real and will cause serious suffering, which is why we as a society should take steps to address it. But the suffering that will result is not just the fault of climate change—it is often also the result of bad policy.”

Consequently, Prakash and Dolšak note that we need to be on the guard against blaming wars and natural disasters solely on climate change. Referring to the landslide in Washington state, they point out that “such events are more of an indication of discreet problems, often caused by government and private actors behaving irresponsibly and neglecting their due diligence.”

The article entitled “‘Climate Change Did It!’ Is a Convenient Excuse” appeared on October 21, 2016, on the Slate website. Founded in 1996, Slate is an online daily magazine that is “offering analysis and commentary about politics, news, business, technology, and culture.”