Here is a fun fact for you: you cannot steal another country’s clouds or snow. You could steal a tiny bit of their snow if you surreptitiously stuffed it into a cool bag, but you’d probably get stopped at customs. And yet, for some reason – political and regional tensions, we suppose – a military head from Iran has accused Israel of doing just that.
According to several outlets, Iran’s Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, the chief of the country’s civil defense organization, declared quite defiantly at an agricultural conference in Tehran that mischief was afoot on high.
“Joint teams from Israel and one of the neighboring countries make the clouds entering into Iran barren,” he is reported to have said. “Moreover, we are faced with the cases of cloud theft and snow theft.” He apparently pointed to a study that shows all mountains in the region have remained snowcapped as of late, with the notable exception of Iran.
I can’t seem to locate this study, but this cloud and snow burglary certainly sounds like a baseless conspiracy theory to me. Ahad Vazife, the head of Iran’s meteorological service, thankfully said that “it’s not possible for a country to steal snow or clouds.” Vazife also added that the raising of such questions is deterring people from “finding the right solutions”.
Sure, cloud seeding/forming machines exist. China’s currently building hundreds of the things to increase rainfall in its drier parts, although this is the only large-scale project of its kind, and they’ve barely started on it yet. Nothing’s properly operational, and it might not even work.
Regardless, you cannot use this tech to literally steal another nation’s clouds. It’s not magic.
The privately-owned Iranian news outlet, Tasnim News Agency, also notes that the general thinks that climate change is being caused by foreign interference. Weirdly, that's where things get more interesting.
With very few exceptions, almost all of the world’s nations are contributing to anthropogenic climate change to some degree, especially large blocs like the European Union, the US, and China, and the effects it’s having around the world are complex and multifaceted.
Iran, which is in an increasingly warm, arid part of the world, will not escape the wrath of climate change it's also partly driving. Its carbon footprint, however, is teeny, about 1.8 percent of the world’s total CO2-equivalent emissions in 2016.
So, in a very roundabout way, climate change in Iran is and will continue to be driven by other nations – but it’s not as if they’re causing climate change to specifically spite Iran, especially as climate change doesn’t give a shit about manmade, non-physical borders.
Vazife, the voice of reason in this little tale, also added: “Iran has suffered a prolonged drought, and this is a global trend that does not apply only to Iran.” Putting the cloud and snow-stealing madness aside, the effects of climate change on Iran have certainly been looked into by bona fide scientists.
The massive desert-covered country already experiences severe droughts, and studies generally indicate that already dry areas will get even drier as the phenomenon worsens, while wet areas will get wetter. Precipitation patterns will be messed up.
This study also found that higher altitude areas will experience particularly potent warming over the coming decades. So in that sense, it won’t be weird if snow cover on Iran’s mountains changes. Doesn’t mean Israel’s behind it though.
You know, come to think of it, all this does remind me of someone else...