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Giving Compass' Take:
• A recent study indicated climate disasters have the potential to enhance the risk of armed conflict, but only in countries considered vulnerable.
• How can disaster relief planning adjust to anticipate these challenges for vulnerable countries?
• Learn more about disaster relief and recovery, here.
Disasters include storms, floods, and droughts—the frequency and intensity of which will increase in the future due to climate change.
“Bushfires in Australia will not spark a civil war as the state is democratic and able to provide relief,” says Tobias Ide from the University of Melbourne and lead author of the paper in Global Environmental Change.
“But when it comes to droughts in Nigeria or storms in Pakistan, where you have large marginalized populations and little state presence, the picture may well change.”
The paper provides invaluable evidence for policy makers such as the United Nations Security Council, called on to invest in climate adaptation and risk reduction for the millions of people already suffering from the effects of climate change.
“The question ‘Will a warming world also be a world with more violent and armed conflicts?”‘ has been a very real one for political leaders and civil societies across the world,” Ide says. “Climate change makes tense social and political situations even worse, so climate-change disasters may act like a ‘threat multiplier’ for violent conflicts.
“Only countries with large populations, the political exclusion of ethnic groups, and relatively low levels of economic development are susceptible to disaster-conflict links. Measures to make societies more inclusive and wealthier are, therefore, no-regrets options to increase security in a warming world.”
Research on the effects that climate change has on armed violence have previously been open to interpretation, but Ide and his colleagues say the new study shows that climate-related disasters enhance armed conflict risks.
“We find that almost one-third of all conflict onsets in vulnerable countries over the recent decade have been preceded by a climate-related disaster within seven days,” says coauthor Carl-Friedrich Schleussner of Climate Analytics.
Read the full article about climate disasters at Futurity.