In a speech this week at a conference of PETME (People for the Ethical Treatment of Mother Earth) Al Gore said that if confirmed that the Syrian government carried out an attack on its own people using chemical weapons that the United States must take action against any government who's hostilities could have “ negative environmental repercussions.”
“At a time when combating climate change is of the utmost importance, we cannot stand by and watch as government leaders are massacring their citizens with warheads containing potentially hazardous chemicals,” Gore said.
The attack in Zamalka, a suburb of Damascus, accounts for only a fraction of the lives lost in a civil war that has gripped Syria for more than two years. Up to this point, the U.S. and other nations have avoided military intervention in the region, arguing that previous massacres were carried out “within the parameters of international environmental law.”
Now, with the deployment of chemical weapons to carry out attacks, Gore believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has “crossed a green line.” Assad has denied responsibility for the chemical strike, instead blaming the region’s rebels. The Syrian leader believes the claims against him are “absurd’ given that he has shown himself time and again to be “an eco-friendly type of guy.”
“I recycle. I drive a hybrid. I do all of that,” Assad said in response to Gore's comment. “The idea that I would kill my own people with weapons that could contaminate the ground water is just ridiculous.” “Believe me,” Assad reiterated, “when I slaughter innocent civilians in my own country, I make sure to use low-emission explosives and then discard the bodies in very deep holes.
“This is not about ousting a dictator,” Gore insist. “This is about sending a message to government leaders everywhere: Before you decide to drop bombs on the women and children of today, you had better think about the effect it will have on the environment tomorrow.”