Gwynne Dyer Warns Climate Change Greater Global Threat Than Terrorism

When the iconic Gwynne Dyer recently spoke to a sold out crowd at Goldcorp Auditorium at Simon Fraser University he said although terrorism dominates media headlines it’s the global threat of climate change that keeps him up at night.

Delivering a lecture on his vision of “The New World Disorder,” Dyer said the Western world obsesses over the Middle East, overblowing the significance of radical terror groups to global security.

“It's astounding how little the Middle East matters,” Dyer told the crowd. “I mean, it monopolizes our news media, but the Middle East contains 10 percent of the world's people. Only five percent of the world's people are Arabs. And it accounts for about three percent of the world's economy, including all the oil."

In his acclaimed book Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats, Dyer warned that unless we get serious about a wholesale decarbonization of our economies, "the second half of this century will not be a time you would choose to live in."

“This thing is coming at us a whole lot faster than the publicly acknowledged wisdom has it,” Dyer wrote. “When you talk to the people at the sharp end of the climate business, scientists and policy-makers alike, there is an air of suppressed panic in many of the conversations. We are not going to get through this without taking a lot of casualties, if we get through it at all.”

Over the course of his career, Dyer has become something of a maverick among his military cohorts.

After serving in three militaries, Dyer obtaining a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London and now provides some of Canada’s most insightful geo-political analysis — often criticizing mainstream military action.

When it comes to addressing current threats, Dyer’s analysis is antithetical to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s.

The notion that Canada is under imminent threat from both ISIS and Putin’s Russia is Canadian fear mongering, Dyer said, adding that narrative serves to legitimize military action against foreign threats. This happens at the expense of international action on climate change, he said.

In response to Canada’s recent military action in Syria, Dyer told the SFU crowd that military action was certain to accomplish one thing only: further retaliation from ISIS forces and increasing escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

Canada’s response to terrorism has provoked significant criticism, especially in response to the Harper government’s recently tabled Bill C-51, an anti-terrorism bill experts say threatens Canadian democracy and civil liberties by expanding surveillance and counter-terrorism activities of spy agencies here at home.

Dyer said rather than the specter of international terrorism, what truly frightens him is one thing: “Climate change, climate change, climate change.”

Image Credit: Klam@s via Flickr

Jane Desbarats is an independent consultant on climate change and energy currently living in Vancouver. She has come back to…

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