Climate change and conflict
|Title:|| ||BEYOND BORDERS - Our changing climate – its role in conflict
|Date of publication:|| ||December 2017|
|Description/subject:|| ||Executive summary:
Each of the last three decades has been successively
warmer than any preceding decade since 1850,
2015 temperature rise exceeded 1.0°C, compared to pre-
industrial times, for the
These changes will
have an escalating, negative impact on our environment,
economies, livelihoods and security globally. These
impacts will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable
groups in society, and those who have contributed least to
climate change will be
first and worst affected by it.
If unchecked, some predict that climate change could draw
up to 720 million people back into extreme poverty
create millions or even billions of climate refugees.
A study published in 2013 suggested that the effects of
climate change could precipitate as much as a 56% increase
in the frequency of intergroup conflicts across the world.
Climate change can take the form of slow-onset
environmental degradation, such as the melting of polar
ice caps and rising sea levels, increased salinization of
groundwater and soil, droughts and desertification from
changed precipitation levels. It can also take the form
of sudden-onset disasters including storms and
heatwaves and wildfires. The number of weather-related
natural disasters has risen on all continents since 1980.
From 1970 to 2012 there were 8,835 disasters related to
of which 3,496 took place between 2001 and
More than half of these were related to rainfall
floods and droughts are increasingly evident
in many parts of the world.
Climate change is resulting in the destruction of
livelihoods, infrastructure and communities and –
without further action – is likely to force people to leave
their homes and drive forced migration.
In 2016 extreme
weather-related disasters displaced around 23.5 million
Since 2008, an average of 21.7 million people
were displaced each year by such hazards.
not include the people forced to
flee their homes as a
consequence of slow-onset environmental degradation,
such as droughts.
EJF defines all these people as climate refugees:
“persons or groups of persons who, for reasons of sudden
or progressive climate-related change in the environment
that adversely affects their lives or living conditions, are
obliged to leave their habitual homes either temporarily
or permanently, and who move either within their
country or abroad.”
Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns
will have widespread, large-scale negative impacts on
food production and food security. Between 1985 and
2007, droughts drove a 13.7% loss in cereal production,
compared to just 6.7% in losses between 1964 and 1984.
Drought is one of the key factors for agricultural failure
and it is expected that the increase in intensity, frequency
and duration of such droughts - all consequences of
climate change - will bring about significant declines to
Environmental change can be seen to drive conflicts
over land or resources, which in turn can lead to the
displacement of people.
Forced migration can be triggered
by environmental conflicts, but forced migration due to the
scarcity of food or extreme weather events can also in itself
The interaction between different social,
economic and political variables – as well as environmental
factors – are strong influencers of wars and armed conflicts
in vulnerable countries.
This report includes a focus on impacts of changing
weather patterns on food security, and how this helped
fuel the Syrian war. The Syrian war, now in its seventh
year, has resulted in more than 470,000 deaths
13.5 million people require humanitarian assistance.
6.6 million people have been internally displaced
five million people are residing in camps in Turkey,
Jordan and Lebanon
as well as an estimated 1.2 million
seeking refuge in Europe.
Whilst the war was not solely
a result of climate change, the intertwining effects of
drought, rural to urban migration, and the increasing
unrest due to a lack of government measures to avoid
water scarcity, unemployment and growing inequality,
corruption and political oppression are clear.
EJF urges the international community to acknowledge
the reality of climate change and take urgent action to
limit the crippling effects on our global community.
We note the imperative for greater consensus and support
for vulnerable nations to increase their resilience to
climate risks and adapt to their impact. We call for an
international agreement that will clarify the rights
and ensure the protection of climate refugees, with the
immediate appointment of a United Nations Special
Rapporteur to convene, initiate and guide preparatory
discussions towards this end. Most important of all, is the
need to end our ‘carbon addiction’ and meet our shared
international commitment under the Paris Agreement,
to cut greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that
temperature rise is kept below 1.5°C on pre-industrial levels"|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Environmental Justice Foundation|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (3.5MB--reduced version; 5MB-original)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs24/EJF-2017-12-beyond_borders-red.pdf|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||30 January 2018|
|Title:|| ||Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict
|Date of publication:|| ||13 September 2013|
Despite the existence of institutions designed to promote peace, interactions between
individuals and groups sometimes lead to confl ict. Understanding the causes of such confl ict is
a major project in the social sciences, and researchers in anthropology, economics, geography,
history, political science, psychology, and sociology have long debated the extent to which climatic
changes are responsible. Recent advances and interest have prompted an explosion of quantitative
studies on this question..."|
|Author/creator:|| ||Solomon M. Hsiang et al|
|Source/publisher:|| ||"Science" - AAAS 13 SEPTEMBER 2013 www.sciencemag.org|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.sciencemag.org|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||30 January 2018|