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Climate change and conflict Russian International Studies Association, Moscow, 26 September 2008

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Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW), International peace Research Institute, ... human health, to global food supply, and to peace and security (Kofi Annan, 2006) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Climate change and conflict Russian International Studies Association, Moscow, 26 September 2008


1
Climate change and conflictRussian
International Studies Association, Moscow, 26
September 2008
  • Nils Petter Gleditsch
  • Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW),
    International peace Research Institute, Oslo
    (PRIO)
  • Department of Sociology and Political Science,
    Norwegian University of Science and Technology,
    Trondheim (NTNU)
  • President, International Studies Association

2
Armed conflicts 19462007
3
Battle deaths, 19002005
Battle deaths, 19462005
4
The growth of the liberal factors
5
Enter climate changeAre we heading towards
disaster?
  • Future scenario of warring states and massive
    social disturbance as a result of climate change
    (Schwart Randall, 2003 think-tank report for
    the Pentagon)
  • Climate change can act as a threat multiplier for
    instability in some of the most volatile regions
    of the world and this is a major national
    security challenge for the US (CNA, 2007
    statement by 11 retired US generals and admirals)
  • The impacts of climate change, such as crop
    failure and lingering drought, sea-level changes,
    and river basin degradation go to the heart of
    the security agenda (Foreign Minister Margaret
    Beckett in the UN Security Council, April 2007)
  • Climate change is an all-encompassing threat to
    human health, to global food supply, and to peace
    and security (Kofi Annan, 2006)
  • Darfur is the first of many climate wars (Jan
    Egeland and Ban Ki-Moon on various occasions in
    2007-08)
  • Climate change may induce large-scale migration
    and lead to greater competition for the earths
    resources, which may result in increased danger
    of violent conflicts and wars, within and between
    states (Ole Danbolt Mjøs, Chair of the Norwegian
    Nobel Committee, 2007)

6
Global warming and armed conflict, 194689
Global warming and armed conflict, 19462006
Temperature deviation from global mean, 195180.
Source NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
(GISS), Columbia University Frequency of armed
conflict. Source UCDP/PRIO Armed Conflict
Dataset.
7
Physical consequences of climate change
  • Melting of glaciers and polar ice
  • Sea-level rise
  • Changes in precipitation
  • Increased natural hazards (floods, droughts,
    hurricanes)

8
Possible social consequences
  • Increased vulnerability to physical environment
  • Increased exposure to health hazards
  • Destruction of traditional livelihoods
  • Extensive environmental migration
  • Decreased predictability
  • Security issue by an extended definition
  • Warrants the attention of the Security Council

9
But it is an important factor in future conflict?
  • Disconnect between NGO, politicians, and
    think-tank literature and peer-reviewed research
  • Somewhat more cautious studies from defense and
    environment agencies
  • IPCC
  • science peer-reviewed
  • social implications more questionable
  • conflict flimsy sources
  • The Stern report hints at conflict same weakness
  • There is very little peer-reviewed research on
    the issue

10
Possible pathways to conflict
  • Sea-level rise ? migration ? conflict in host
    areas
  • Drought
  • Flooding resource competition ? local
    conflict
  • Hurricanes
  • lower state capacity ? rebel
    opportunity
  • Strong version of the neomalthusian model
    resource scarcity ? conflict

11
Counterarguments to the conflict scenarios
  • The link between scarcity and conflict is almost
    completely limited to case studies
  • Statistical, comparative analyses have not
    converged on a robust association between
    renewable resource scarcity and armed conflict
  • Predictions of new conflicts are dependent on
    general relationships
  • Migration ? conflict in host areas, but probably
    as a result of imported conflict
  • Analyses of disasters and conflict suggest a
    connection, but mostly for geological disasters,
    and mechanisms unclear
  • And there are exceptions, such as Aceh
  • Impending scarcities are often handled by
    substitution, innovation, cooperation, and the
    market
  • Water literature has moved from water wars to
    water cooperation
  • Climate change is generally a slow process this
    points to adaptation

12
The 'Bottom Billion'
The 'bottom billion'
Armed conflicts in 2006
- and armed conflict in 2006
13
Vicious cycle?
  • Climate change ? conflict ? climate change
  • War has a negative impact on the environment
  • Nuclear winter
  • Armed forces major user of fossile fuels
  • However, one study shows war ? lower CO2
    emissions
  • Gleditsch/Cappelen/Bjerkholt (1994) Disarmament
    ? lower CO2 emissions
  • On the whole, probably less important

14
Priorities
  • Disaggregate the climate-conflict debate
  • Couple models of climate changes to models of
    conflict
  • Collect better data on violence (one-sided,
    non-state)
  • Collect geo-referenced data
  • Look at interactions between climate change and
    political and economic factors
  • Balance negative and positive effects (e.g. food)
  • Integrate consequences of climate changes with
    other economic and social changes
  • Calculate costs of reversing climate change vs.
    mitigation
  • Focus on the most important consequences

15
Conclusions
  • Climate change is a major challenge
  • Climate change is a security issue
  • There is little evidence to date that armed
    conflict is an important consequence
  • Analysis does not depend on the causes of climate
    change
  • But countermeasures do
  • Policy measures also depend on the consequences
  • More research on climate change and conflict is a
    priority
  • The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report should include
    conflict
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