On Saturday, Martin O’Malley put his foot in his mouth in response to a Black Lives Matter protest (though his apology appears to be redeeming him). Now he’s got conservatives up in arms over his linking the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to climate change.
The idea is not as kooky as it may sound. (Of course, if you’re someone who believes climate change is a hoax, then you’re not going to like it no matter the context.) O’Malley was making a point on Bloomberg television about the far-reaching effects of climate change and, therefore, the importance of addressing it.
“One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria, 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,” O’Malley said.
As Salon points out, as long as “one of the things” continues to qualify this statement, it’s actually in accord with a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March. The study found that climate change was a factor in Syria’s four-year drought and that the drought “helped kick things over the threshold into open conflict.”
Especially considering how poorly O’Malley is polling right now, it’s amazing that conservatives pounced on his comments the way they did. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the statement “absurd.” The Washington Free Beacon called it a “truly brazenly silly thing to say.” Newsbusters categorized it under “embarrassing comments by leftists.” Oh well, I guess some attention is better than none.
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