Studying Link Between Climate and Armed Conflict

Climate change—from rising temperatures and more severe heavy rain to drought—is increasing risks for economies, human security and conflict globally. Scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science are leading an effort to better assess the climate-conflict link to help societies manage the complex risks of increased violence from a changing climate.

The links between climate and the risk of violent conflict are well studied; however, scientists in varying research disciplines often disagree about the scope and severity of possible climate change impacts. Some of the open research questions are about the links between climate change and violence, including large-scale armed conflict.

In a new report in Earth’s Future, a group of scholars, with backgrounds including environmental and political science, geography, and economics, analyze the relationship between climate and organized armed conflict to define cross-cutting priorities for future directions of research. In a previous assessment published in 2019 by the group, it was estimated that over the last century between 3 to 20 percent of organized armed conflict risk has been influenced by climate.

According to the authors, priorities for future directions of research include: deepening insight into climate–conflict linkages and conditions under which they manifest; ambitiously integrating research designs; systematically exploring future risks and response options, responsive to ongoing decision making; and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to manage climate–conflict links.

The study, titled “Directions for Research on Climate and Conflict,” is in Earth’s Future – Volume 8, Issue 7, a journal of the American Geophysical Union

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