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Could climate change be linked to terrorism? Experts say it’s possible

By Emilie Quesnel [1]

BELLEVILLE – The 2015 Climate Change Summit [2] is officially underway in Paris, where discussion topics may go beyond how to reduce emissions and move toward the issue of terrorism.

According to media reports, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon [3],​ said he hopes the possible link between climate change and terrorism will be explored during the talks. So far, the main response to his statement has been skepticism. 

Ban isn’t the only one who has addressed this issue publicly and faced scrutiny for it. During a recent debate of candidates for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination, hopeful Bernie Sanders [4] said there is a risk that climate change could increase terrorist acts.

Many experts and agencies have said there is a connection between rising global temperatures and terrorism. One of those is the U.S. Department of Defense. [5]

In 2014, the department released a road map for adapting to climate change in North America. It argued that climate change can heighten negativity and harmful attitudes, adding that when a country’s environment becomes unpredictable and dangerous, it can give way to an unstable government, the spread of disease, the loss of jobs and frustrated residents. All of these things can lead to hostility, which can cause people to seek out a scapegoat, the department wrote. This is where extremist groups enter the equation, it said.

QNet News will be talking with local environmental experts to get their take on the issue.

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