Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Climate change more important than Islamic terrorism?

A Salon article today points out that substantially more people were killed in this last weekend's American snow storm than by Islamic terrorism in the whole of the 14 years since 9/11.
41 people were recorded as dying during January 2016's freak snow storm (dubbed Jonas) alone, mainly in car accidents, whereas a total of 40 Americans have died at the hands of Islamic jihadists since 2001 (this includes the horrendous San Bernardino attacks in December 2015, in which 14 were killed). Another 43 died in the extreme weather in December 2015, and the magazine made the same point then too. This, of course, also begs the question of the snow storm being a direct result of climate change, but there is compelling evidence to suggest that climate change is making extreme weather in general MORE extreme, and effectively supercharging winter storms like Jonas.
In fact, as the New York Times pointed out earlier last year, Islamic and Islamic-influenced terrorists have killed fewer Americans than non-Islamic terrorists (white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists), who have been responsible for 48 deaths in 19 separate attacks since 9/11 (that figure as of June 2015).
I am always a little suspicious of this kind of comparison for transparently political ends, but it certainly makes you think, and it presents a viewpoint distinctly at odds with the usual narrative we read so often in the press (especially the American press).
Salon's point is presumably to back up Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' argument that climate change is a much more important and immediate threat to American national security than Islamic terrorism (and indeed that Islamic terrorism is to some extent CAUSED by climate change).
I'm not sure that it is particularly beneficial to press the climate change-change-is-worse-than-terrorism line too far, but I have to say that it is quite refreshing to see an alternative view on the two subjects in American political debate.

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