As global temperatures climb, the risk of armed conflict is expected to increase substantially, according to experts across several fields.
Intensifying climate change will increase the future risk of violent armed conflict within countries, according to a study published today in the journal Nature. Synthesizing views across experts, the study estimates climate has influenced between 3% and 20% of armed conflict risk over the last century and that the influence will likely increase dramatically.
In a scenario with 4 degrees Celsius of warming (approximately the path we’re on if societies do not substantially reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases), the influence of climate on conflicts would increase more than five times, leaping to a 26% chance of a substantial increase in conflict risk, according to the study. Even in a scenario of 2 degrees Celsius of warming beyond preindustrial levels – the stated goal of the Paris Climate Agreement – the influence of climate on conflicts would more than double, rising to a 13% chance.
“Appreciating the role of climate change and its security impacts is important not only for understanding the social costs of our continuing heat-trapping emissions, but for prioritizing responses, which could include aid and cooperation,” said Katharine Mach, director of the Stanford Environment Assessment Facility and the study’s lead author.
Climate change-driven extreme weather and related disasters can damage economies, lower farming and livestock production and intensify inequality among social groups. These factors, when combined with other drivers of conflict, may increase risks of violence.
“Knowing whether environmental or climatic changes are important for explaining conflict has implications for what we can do to reduce the likelihood of future conflict, as well as for how to make well-informed decisions about how aggressively we should mitigate future climate change,” said Marshall Burke, assistant professor of Earth system science and a co-author on the study.
Researchers disagree intensely as to whether climate plays a role in triggering civil wars and other armed conflicts. To better understand the impact of climate, the analysis involved interviews with and debates among experts in political science, environmental science, economics and other fields who have come to different conclusions on climate’s influence on conflict in the past.
The experts, who also served as co-authors on the study, agree that climate has affected organized armed conflict in recent decades. However, they make clear that other factors, such as low socioeconomic development, the strength of government, inequalities in societies, and a recent history of violent conflict have a much heavier impact on conflict within countries.
The researchers don’t fully understand how climate affects conflict and under what conditions. The consequences of future climate change will likely be different from historical climate disruptions because societies will be forced to grapple with unprecedented conditions that go beyond known experience and what they may be capable of adapting to.
“Historically, levels of armed conflict over time have been heavily influenced by shocks to, and changes in, international relations among states and in their domestic political systems,” said James Fearon, professor of political science and co-author on the study. “It is quite likely that over this century, unprecedented climate change is going to have significant impacts on both, but it is extremely hard to anticipate whether the political changes related to climate change will have big effects on armed conflict in turn. So I think putting nontrivial weight on significant climate effects on conflict is reasonable.”
Reducing conflict risk and preparing for a changing climate can be a win–win approach. The study explains that adaptation strategies, such as crop insurance, post-harvest storage, training services and other measures, can increase food security and diversify economic opportunities, thereby reducing potential climate–conflict linkages. Peacekeeping, conflict mediation and post-conflict aid operations could incorporate climate into their risk reduction strategies by looking at ways climatic hazards may exacerbate violent conflict in the future.
However, the researchers make clear there is a need to increase understanding of these strategies’ effectiveness and potential for adverse side effects. For example, food export bans following crop failures can increase instability elsewhere.
“Understanding the multifaceted ways that climate may interact with known drivers of conflict is really critical for putting investments in the right place,“ Mach said.
The Latest on: Intensifying climate change
[google_news title=”” keyword=”intensifying climate change” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Intensifying climate change
- Understanding the impact of climate change at the national levelon March 1, 2024 at 12:00 am
A significant research project offers insights into how escalating global temperatures and climate change are intensifying risks to human and natural systems at a national level.
- Climate Change Hits Indebted Businesses Hardest, New Research Suggestson February 27, 2024 at 1:24 pm
We found that climate change delivers a one-two punch to highly leveraged firms by intensifying the costs that stakeholders impose on them. Consider consumers. Researchers know that climate change can ...
- Multilateral action urged to tackle climate changeon February 26, 2024 at 6:06 pm
WU XIAOHUI/CHINA DAILY Delegates at an international conference on the environment have called for accelerated multilateral action to cope with intensifying global environmental crises such as climate ...
- Climate change is throwing the water cycle into chaos across the U.S.on February 25, 2024 at 5:00 am
The water cycle controls every aspect of Earth’s climate system, which means that as the climate changes, so too does nearly every step of water’s movement on the planet. In some places, the ...
- Climate change is throwing the water cycle into chaos across the U.S.on February 25, 2024 at 12:00 am
In some places, the availability of water is becoming increasingly scarce, while in others, climate change is intensifying rainfall, floods and other extreme weather events. As the planet ...
- Intensifying Heat and Humidity: The Accelerated Degradation of Australian Solar Panelson February 19, 2024 at 1:00 am
Climate change is leaving an indelible mark on the solar energy landscape in Australia, with new research revealing that the country’s solar panels are degrading at faster rates due to increasing ...
- Rethinking inflation in times of environmental instabilityon February 13, 2024 at 4:00 pm
But such disruptions are expected to become more frequent in the context of intensifying climate change, environmental degradation and geopolitical tensions, marking a new era of supply-side ...
- Climate Scientists Propose Adding Category 6 For Hurricanes Amid Growing Concerns Over Intensifying Stormson February 6, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Category 6', for hurricanes in response to concerns over intensifying storm driven by climate change. This proposal aims to address the limitations of the current Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind ...
- Sea Changeon February 5, 2024 at 4:01 pm
Climate change is intensifying wet periods across California, untaming waterways humans corralled with dirt and concrete. In this episode, "Searching for Home on Higher Ground," reporter Ezra ...
- Understanding the Role of Climate Change in Intensifying Wildfireson February 5, 2024 at 12:47 pm
The recent wildfires that have wreaked havoc in central Chile, taking the lives of at least 112 people and prompting the president to declare two days of national mourning, showcase the devastating ...
via Bing News