Al Qaeda Worried About Climate Change

A document seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011 and released by the U.S. on Wednesday shows al Qaeda was concerned about climate change. A letter apparently addressed to Atiyah Abd al Rahman, a senior al Qaeda member killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011, urges leaders to tell fighters to not “cut down trees on a large scale [...] without replacing them.” “Cutting down trees should be limited to the needs of the people and local consumption and not for export,” the August 2010 letter reads. “I am sure that you are aware that climate change is causing drought in some areas and floods in others.

Another document, a “Letter on the implications of climate change,” calls on Muslims to participate in relief work and to prepare in advance for future natural disasters. At the same time, however, the letter takes time to critique an “Islamic” London-based NGO for providing aid to Christians and Hindus, and for employing female aid workers. It notes the NGO said it would be unlikely to be able to help mujahideen in Pakistan.