Ground Report | New Delhi: Climate change will increase armed conflicts; Climate change and its effects will have a decisive influence on the future of humanity. In addition to its direct consequences on ecosystems, this global change will also change international relations and the political and social situation of countries. Extreme weather and related disasters can damage economies, decrease agricultural and livestock production, and intensify inequality between social groups. These factors, when combined with other drivers of conflict, can increase the risks of violence.
Climate change will increase armed conflicts
Research from Stanford University published in the journal Nature reveals that the intensification of climate change will increase the future risk of violent armed conflicts within countries. The study estimates that climate has influenced between 3% and 20% of armed conflicts during the last century and that the influence is likely to increase dramatically.
Climate change will have a serious impact on the security, economic, and social equality of countries in the future In a scenario with 4 degrees Celsius warming (roughly the situation we will find ourselves in if greenhouse gas emissions are not substantially reduced), the influence of climate on conflicts would increase more than five times, with a 26% probability of a substantial increase in the risk of conflict, according to the study.
Even in a scenario of 2 degrees Celsius of warming beyond pre-industrial levels (the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement), the influence of climate on conflicts would double, with a probability of 13%.
“Appreciating the role of climate change and its impacts on security is important not only to understand the social costs of our continuing greenhouse emissions but also to prioritize responses, which could include aid and cooperation,” says Katharine Mach, Director. from the Stanford Center for Environmental Assessment and author of the study.
Actions to reduce risk
“Knowing whether environmental or climate changes are important in explaining conflict has implications for what we can do to reduce the likelihood of future conflict, as well as how to make well-informed decisions about how intensely we should mitigate future climate change,” says Marshall Burke, assistant professor of Earth system sciences and co-author of the study.
The experts, who were also co-authors of the study, agree that the climate has affected the organized armed conflict in recent decades. However, they make clear that other factors, such as low socioeconomic development, strong government, inequalities in societies, and a recent history of violent conflict have a much greater impact on conflicts within countries.
The consequences of future climate change are likely to be a trigger for conflict, as societies will be forced to deal with unprecedented conditions that go beyond known experience and to which they may be able to adapt.
Reducing the risk of conflict and preparing for a changing climate can be a winning approach. The study explains that adaptation strategies, such as crop insurance and subsequent storage, training services, and other measures, can increase food security and diversify economic opportunities, thus reducing potential links between climate and conflict.