Chelsea Clinton Explains How Climate Change Connects To Child Marriage

Tucker Carlson attacked Clinton for comments that actually have some merit.

During a Fox News segment on Thursday, Tucker Carlson went after Chelsea Clinton for claiming that child marriage and global warming were "interconnected." 

Her comments came after she was a featured speaker at the CARE Conference in Washington D.C. alongside Barbara Bush and Amani Al-Khatahtbeh of Carlson, who is known for lambasting liberal guests on his show, sarcastically echoed Clinton's words after playing the clip. "Yeah, their interconnectedness," he said. 

Soon after, some of Carlson's many viewers began attacking Clinton on Twitter for what they deemed to be a ridiculous comment. One commenter, in a respectful manner, actually asked Clinton how the two were tied. And she answered.


Whether there is definitive proof behind Clinton's claim is a perfectly fair debate, but it's undeniable that the daughter of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has some evidence to support her words.

In 2010, Oxfam — an international group of charitable foundations fighting poverty — contributed to a report that discussed the links between climate change and the exacerbations of gender inequality. It is estimated that 70 percent of the world's poor are women, and a 2007 UNDP Human Development Report found that such poverty and gender inequality is made worse during displacement caused by climate change.

There is even a name for what Clinton referred to: "famine marriages." Famine marriages are an issue in East Africa, where drought and famine cause increased rates of school drop outs and improves the chances a woman gets "sexually transmitted infections and related reproductive complications."

"While none of the participants explicitly linked rates of early marriage – and subsequent withdrawal of girls from school – with the effects of drought, it is clearly possible that the practice of exchanging girls for bride price in the form of money or cattle when they marry, means that, as pressures on families increase in the face of poverty, this practice may become more common," the report said.  

Clinton referenced national disasters more globally as contributing to child marriage in a Twitter exchange with A Plus.

"Sadly, natural disasters in Bangladesh (linked to climate change) have correlated to more girls out of school & getting married," she wrote, noting later that the country was "not the only example of floods, droughts & more extreme weather putting girls at risk for trafficking or marriage."

According to NASA, there are a host of other potential outcomes from climate change here in the United States: more frequent extreme weather events, changes in streamflow that will reduce water access, drought that will hamper farm harvests, and increased precipitation that will make floods more common. 

Globally, climate change has the potential to do even more harm. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in places that already deal with extreme heat, like East Africa, farming will become harder in areas that are already dry. Chronic malnutrition will increase in children who have less access to food. Even malaria is expected to increase in prevalence when malaria-carrying mosquitos can migrate to areas at higher altitudes that will soon be warm enough for them to thrive.

Needless to say, the effects and potential outcomes of climate change are complex and nuanced, and those not in positions of power, especially children, are likely to feel them first.

Correction: A previous version of this article noted that Chelsea Clinton spoke at a Council of American Relations (CAIR) conference. The story has been updated to show she was speaking at the CARE Conference in Washington D.C.

Cover photo: Shutterstock / JStone


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