UN Secretary-General Wrong to Blame Climate Change for Somalian Suffering

From ClimateREALISM

By Linnea Lueken

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently gave a speech in Somalia in which he claimed Somalia is suffering from the impacts of climate change disproportionately, specifically with regard to crop production amid an ongoing regional drought. This is false. Somalia is not suffering famine and crop failures primarily due to drought. Social and political instability is a much more likely culprit, especially since Somalia’s current drought is not unprecedented, and neighboring countries also under drought conditions are have not experienced similar crop declines.

A transcript of the speech is available, here, where Guterres explains his commitment to raising aid money for Somalia to address their allegedly climate-driven crop failures.

“My last visit to Somalia in 2017 was during a large-scale humanitarian operation to prevent famine,” Guterres said. “Today, the situation is once again alarming. Climate change is causing chaos, Somalia has experienced five consecutive poor rainy seasons, and this is unprecedented.”

Climate change is not “causing chaos” in Somalia, nor is the recent drought unprecedented.

As pointed out by Climate Realism in “No, CBS News, Drought in Somalia is Not Being Driven by Climate Change,” the Horn of Africa is prone to flip-flopping weather patterns of aridity and monsoon rains. Paleo data from West Africa shows that the region has always suffered these conditions, most notably mega-droughts, like those that occurred between 1400 and 1750, long before humans began burning fossil fuels in abundance.

In fact, recent news about the drought is calling it the “worst in 40 years,” indicating similar droughts occurred as recently as 40 years ago, if not since.

Evidence suggests internal conflict and political corruption is undermining Somali crop production. Neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya have also suffered from the same drought cycles as Somalia, yet their crop production has increased over time, compared to the ragged decline of Somalian crops.

Bananas are one of Somalia’s top commercial crops. Using production data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization database, it is clear that something more than regional weather is causing Somalian agriculture to suffer.

Looking at banana production (See figure below) neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia have seen gradual increases in production (Ethiopia has only been reporting data to the FAO since 1993), with Ethiopia setting a new production record in 2020. Kenya set a new record for banana production in 2021. By comparison Somalia’s banana production has been in a protracted decline.

Concerning core cereal crops, since the U.N. has been maintaining records for each respective country:

  • Ethiopia experienced an impressive increase in production of approximately 468 percent, breaking records ten times since 2010;
  • Kenya’s growth has been slower, but still substantial, at 188 percent, breaking production records four times since 2010;
  • By contrast, Somalia has seen a 30 percent decline in cereal crop production. (See the figure below)

The crop trends for Somalia are indicative of a humanitarian crisis, which in Somalia’s case have resulted from a protracted civil war, government corruption, and terrorism. Somalia has limited infrastructure development, and the violence discussed above has destroyed much existing infrastructure. Exacerbating Somalia’s famine is the fact that the country’s population has doubled since 2000, with no increase in food production. These conditions are not, however, indicative of a climate crisis. Neither Somalia nor Guterres can honestly claim that other nations owe it climate reparations.

Clearly, Guterres has the crop production data that his own organization produces. Also, as we at Climate Realism have shown previously, it’s easy enough to gather information concerning Somalia’s drought history with a simple word search on the search engine of one’s choice. What the evidence indicates is that most of Somalia’s agriculture problems appear to be due to a rapidly rising population in the midst of social and political chaos, not climate chaos, hampering farm production. If Guterres is correct that Somalia is “emerging” from years of conflict, then even in the midst of a regional drought, it may soon benefit from rising crop production similar to that experienced by its neighbors, Ethiopia and Kenya. This result could be expedited if Somalia is allowed to access easily dispatchable fossil fuels and the financing needed to develop fossil fuel based energy infrastructure that the U.N. is seeking to banish from struggling and wealthy nations alike.

Linnea Lueken

Linnea Lueken is a Research Fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy. While she was an intern with The Heartland Institute in 2018, she co-authored a Heartland Institute Policy Brief “Debunking Four Persistent Myths About Hydraulic Fracturing.”

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Ed Zuiderwijk
April 16, 2023 2:23 am

Somalia is one of the greatest exporters of … people. They leave the country in droves to become ‘refugees’, aka economic migrants, and try to get into Europe and also the US by hook or by crook. Perhaps it will end when the banana crops recover.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
April 16, 2023 3:35 am

The Horn of Africa, that is Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Dijouti, possibly Kenya too have had war and civil war continuously in one part or another for at least sixty years.
War does a lot of things including displacing people and creating food shortages and famine if the weather helps. It doesn’t do much good interfering with countries conflicts, neither side wants it. The only thing to do is wait until they get tired of killing each other or one side kills most of the other.
In the modern age it’s a lot easier as a displaced person, usually male, to travel the world looking for something better.
It’s like that and that’s the way it is and alays has been

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
April 16, 2023 10:02 am

Banana crops? It will end when they are kicked off the dole and the drug trade is supressed.

April 16, 2023 3:08 am

So, where is St. Bob ‘just give us yer feckin munny‘ Geldof?

For a few decades now sports (in the UK at least) have taken to recruiting foreigners [with some spurious claim to nationality], probably the most infamous being Zola Budd, who give them a chance of winning.

The latest is ‘Sir’ Mo Farah – a Somali long distance runner. Some time after he retired and got a knighthood he revealed that he was born in Somaliland as Hussein Abdi Kahin and entered the UK illegally from Djibouti under the name of another child, Mohamed Farah, at the age of nine. 

The Guardian believes it is “a beautiful, heartbreaking story

Fool Britannia.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  strativarius
April 16, 2023 3:25 am

Do They Know It’s Christmas released 3 December 1984. If my memory is correct there’d been a drought from a while before that.
The Somalian Civil War has been going on for at least three decades and still continues. There’s been a long history of war in Somalia and the Horn Of Africa.

Again there was and had been war in the country/region before and after that charity drive, The Ogaden War between Ethiopia and Somalia and the Ethiopian Civil war that lasted from the 1970s to 1991. Then there was the Eritrean War of Independence which lasted about three decades also ending in the 1990s.
So the Horn of Africa has had conflicts for the last sixty years or so. Some of the results of war are displaced people and food shortages. Drought is just one more factor and not a cause of the conflicts.

Ron Long
April 16, 2023 3:14 am

Black Hawk Down, an event in 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, shows the terrible war lords steering the population into total chaos. The IQ (peak of bell curve of IQ distribution) for Somalia is 68, also 68 for Ethiopia, and 75 for Kenya. The combination of war lords and low intellectual levels in the general population is a formula for disaster, unless it rains a lot and things grow for free.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 16, 2023 4:54 am

There’s no mention of the violent faith/ideology. That certainly plays its part.

04/09/2023 al-Shabaab send mortars into a residential and commercial district, killing four.
04/05/2023 A group linked to ISIS throws a grenade into a company headquarters, killing one.
04/04/2023 Five are left dead when Islamists attack fellow Islamists.

In fact so far this year approximately 230 people have been killed in the name of the above in Somalia

Peta of Newark
April 16, 2023 4:35 am

I’m struggling here – who’s taking the p1ss out of who?

Scene 1: Lardy 4ss Figgeries comes jetting in in his Gulfstream, smart suit, gold watch and legions of hangers-on to inform the Somlanians that he and everybody else back home in The West have wasted the weather and that is why they, in Somlania, are starving.

Scene 2: If that weren’t bad enough, Bloated Billy then proceeds to make what everybody knows are empty promises about ‘buying them off’
Using money that can only be created by emitting more emmisions and thus further wasting the Somalanians previously balmy weather and bounteous food booty

Idea for Scene 3: Why haven’t they thrown him to the first lion that came along, in the hope that the next Lear Jet to arrive will bring somebody who can actually understand what’s going on, be honest about it and actually ‘do something’

April 16, 2023 5:13 am

The climate chauvinists only cause net harm with their deluded reductionism. It is ‘unconscionable’ to displace the real story by blaming trace gas emission.

Coach Springer
April 16, 2023 6:49 am

I used to think the guys in westerns selling magic elixirs were ridiculous and their customers mindless dupes. And now we have world leaders selling the imaginary elixir of “burn less coal and do without” to solve real world problems. And over half the world is buying.

A line paraphrased from an old western: Sometimes life is too ridiculous to even bother living it.

Reply to  Coach Springer
April 16, 2023 4:55 pm

Asia makes up half the world and they are not buying it. Japan is building more coal fired power stations along with China and India.

April 16, 2023 9:22 am

Somalian Spring? Domestic diversity, UN peacekeeping, and America’s covert conflicts in progress.

April 16, 2023 9:35 am

Whenever a bureaucrat pulls out the Climate-Change-wot-dunnit card to explain a disaster, check on the level of responsibility they had prior to the incident as far as prevention of the disaster. None of them ever say they didn’t approve enough spending on better drainage given the increase in city size, or that there was a bigger storm in the 1950’s….no, its always a thousand year storm that’s going to occur every decade due to Climate Change….

Even Gutteres knows he has a responsibility in his position to prevent wars in underdeveloped countries. So a man at the top…deflecting his inadequacy with CC claims…It always surprises me how a gullible media is taken in…

Dave Fair
Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 16, 2023 11:30 am

The media is complicit, not gullible.

April 16, 2023 12:59 pm

Here is a climate map of Somalia. What are the chances of a drought in a desert?

comment image

Reply to  sskinner
April 16, 2023 2:24 pm

That never matters to these dolls. Any time they refer to “climate change”, you can automatically assume that it’s climate same. The average annual rainfall in Somalia ranges from a mere 4 inches up to 20 inches in some spots. Even then, if that’s the average, it makes them semiarid in an already hot equatorial region. In North Korea, they’ve tried the same excuse. Give us aid, they say, because our harvest was bad due to the weather. Why does South Korea never say that 🤔?

April 16, 2023 1:30 pm

I would bet the coup in Somalia is of KGB origin.

April 16, 2023 1:56 pm

Very nice Linnea.

“Clearly, Guterres has the crop production data that his own organization produces.”

A lack of knowledge is not the problem. Guterres lied to the Somalians and he knew exactly what he was doing. This lying and cheating has to stop. The only reason that worthless bugger was in Somalia was to cause hate and discontent. He needs to be booted out of office, there is no room for liars and cheats in positions of responsibility.

Eamon Butler
Reply to  Bob
April 16, 2023 4:09 pm

Yes but not just booting him out. He will just turn up somewhere else. He needs to be charged for the fraud that he is.

Reply to  Bob
April 17, 2023 10:05 am

I’m sure he has the support of China and Russia. While the western members of the UN Security Council, being besotted with climate change, likely support him as well, for different reasons. So I doubt he’ll be going anywhere soon.

Eamon Butler
April 16, 2023 4:01 pm

Guterres routinely declares that the planet is burning up, it is on fire, we are running out of time… etc etc.
Clearly, he knows this is nonsense, he should be investigated and tried for fraud. He cannot defend those outrageous claims.

Edward Katz
April 16, 2023 6:05 pm

What else would anyone expect from the UN whose mantra is that if there’s any type of human or environmental catastrophe, blame it on man-made climate change. Besides, this part of the world is probably the most politically unstable in the first place, so why would the climate alarmists pass up the opportunity to equate the instability with a supposedly warming planet?

April 17, 2023 3:23 am

At the start of COP25, Guterres said:
“Climate related natural disasters are becoming more frequent, more deadly, more destructive with growing human and financial costs”.
Of course, this is a disgraceful lie. I’m looking at a printout of deaths from extreme weather. It is of course the data from EMDAT, which is about as authorative as it gets.
It shows that deaths have massively fallen over the past hundred years. The deaths from 2012 to 2020 are so small on this scale as to be almost indistinguishable from zero.
I believe Guterres’ own organisation uses the EMDAT data.
This data clearly shows that he was lying.
Last year the BBC were caught out telling the same lie and they were forced to publish a retraction.
It is truly shocking that a serial liar should be in such a powerful position. Or maybe being a liar is a requirement for the post….

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