The argument that the civil war in Syria may at root be a resource war—and one to which global warming has contributed—is in itself not without merit.
The concept that wars are increasingly an outcome of climate change is a fascinating thesis, and one that university professors the world over should be discussing for years to come.
However, it’s hard to think of something less appropriate for the Prince of Wales, the heir to the British throne, to say in a television interview.
In an interview with Sky News to be transmitted today, Charles says: “We’re seeing a classic case of not dealing with the problem, because, I mean, it sounds awful to say, but some of us were saying 20 something years ago that if we didn’t tackle these issues you would see ever greater conflict over scarce resources and ever greater difficulties over drought, and the accumulating effect of climate change, which means that people have to move.
“And, in fact, there’s very good evidence indeed that one of the major reasons for this horror in Syria, funnily enough, was a drought that lasted for about five or six years, which meant that huge numbers of people in the end had to leave the land.”
Asked if there was a direct link between climate change, conflict and terrorism, he said it had a “huge impact on what is happening.”
The interview came ahead of Charles travelling to Paris next week to deliver a keynote speech at the Nov. 30 opening ceremony for Cop21, the United Nations conference on climate change which will attempt to reach a new international agreement to limit global warming to no more than two degrees.
It's hard to fathom the thought processes that could lead Charles into being tempted to offer an opinion on climate change as a root cause of an incredibly complex foreign civil war.
Never mind that his remarks were recorded before the recent horrors in Paris, apparently conducted at least in part by phony Syrian refugees, Charles has once again shown his inability to keep his mouth shut when presented with any opportunity to do the opposite.
Would the Queen make an “I told you so” comment like this? Would Prince William?
No, no, no.
Charles may be right—but that’s not the point.
The point is that it is not constitutionally appropriate for the heir to the throne to be sounding off, expressing half-thought out opinions on global politics that sound suspiciously like the remarks of a student union debater who happens to have read a few academic journals and thinks the world could easily be put to rights if only we’d all do as he says.
The remarks will renew nervousness about the prospect of the reign of garrulous King Charlie.