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This summer has been unusually hot for Iraq, and a June heatwave is impacting the Trump Administration’s policy to sanction Iranian exports of gas — they had to waive the sanctions they recently re-imposed in order to ensure that Iraq could get the extra fuel they need to power air conditioning systems.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the “U.S. has allowed Iraq to import natural gas and electricity from Iran without risking sanctions for another four months, Iraqi officials said, as Baghdad braces for protests over power cuts during the scorching summer months.”
Why This Matters: Iraq is the latest country to suffer due to an extreme heatwave that is almost certainly a result of global warming. Voice of America reported that Iraq is averaging a daily 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit), compared with around 40 in June in previous years. The Iraquis need additional gas and electricity imports in order to fuel air conditioning and other cooling systems which in this kind of heat are a necessity to ensure there is no social unrest. Ironically, just as the U.S. is currently sending in extra troops to the region and heating up its rhetoric against Iran for its alleged attack on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, we are at the same time easing sanctions on Iran so that it can export fuel to keep things cool — both literally and figuratively in Iraq. Climate change, which the Administration will not even acknowledge, is undercutting its own defense and security objectives, sending mixed messages to Iran at a crucial and tense moment. Oh and the Acting Secretary of Defense just quit.
“Demand for air-conditioning in the summer puts an acute strain on Iraq’s power grid, which can’t generate enough electricity even in the cooler months.”
“Electricity shortages last summer ignited demonstrations that grew into a broader challenge to the government from its core constituency in southern Iraq.”
“The power system was further degraded by the war against Islamic State, which inflicted $7 billion of damage, with eight out of 17 power plants in areas occupied by the militants completely destroyed, according to a World Bank assessment.”
“Scattered protests have broken out in southern parts of Iraq after soaring temperatures affected the power supply.”
Temperatures in fragile Iraq at record highs and protests breaking out as a result — yet this Administration does not recognize the threat that climate change poses. If one is looking for evidence that the climate crisis will strain our military and threaten our security going forward, the current situation in Iraq/Iran is exhibit A. Not to mention just the sheer human suffering in a country still trying to recover from a war with the U.S.
We wrote earlier this year that climate change was fueling an outbreak of swarming locusts in East Africa, and now the insects have made it to India’s heartland where they have devastated crops and livelihoods in a region already struggling with coronavirus, a heatwave in the capital, a recent cyclone, and 100 million people out […]
A new, nationwide public opinion survey conducted by Yale from April 7–17 found that a record-tying 73% of Americans think global warming is happening and only 10% deny it, but most believe it is happening to others and not to them.
Why This Matters: The pollsters expected they would find that because the public is so concerned about the pandemic that they would not have the ability to maintain their concern about climate change — a theory that social scientists call the “finite pool of worry.” But that was not the case.
Cornell University’s Board of Trustees announced on Friday that the University will make no new investments in fossil fuels, and it is believed that they have been divesting of their previous investments for several years, though the details of their endowment are not public.
Why This Matters: The climate movement has been led by young people and one easy focus of their activism is the universities they attend.
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