Author: Climate And Conflict

The State of the Field in Climate and Security

This blog post was first posted on the Duck of Minerva. After nearly fifteen years of study, what do we know about the relationship between climate change and security? I recently attended a Woodrow Wilson Center event organized by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) on the state of the field. Along with Geoff Dabelko,… Read more »

Science Meets Policy, Practice, and the Public

Last week, PRIO co-hosted a set of meetings for peers, policy, and the general public at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. These events marked the end of Climate Anomalies and Violent Environments (CAVE), a three-year research project supported by the Research Council of Norway’s FRIPRO program. The project has contributed… Read more »

Why did Mali fall into jihadist hands?

Jihadists have succeeded in taking control of more than half of Mali, where many people in rural areas are now adherents of one armed group or another. This situation is largely the result of widespread frustration with the bad governance by the country’s corrupt ruling elites. While the jihadists have managed to take advantage of… Read more »

Conflict and Insecurity in the IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is headed towards another round of assessing the world’s climate and how it affects our lives and livelihoods. Last September, the outline of the Sixth Assessment Report was approved and now the selection of authors is underway. ‘Climate change is fuelling wars across the world’. Thus, a heading… Read more »

Bringing Different Disciplinary Perspectives to Climate Change and Conflict

The scientific evidence for climate change is unequivocal, and the scientific community continues to refine our understanding of the impacts of these changes. Many of these physical changes, such as heatwaves, droughts and sea-level rise, are projected to adversely affect human wellbeing. The scope of these impacts has prompted serious concern that climate change may… Read more »

Water Stress and Conflicts in Africa

Water scarcity is widely believed to be a common source of violent conflict. However, in a recent policy brief I wrote with Clionadh Raleigh, we show that a direct water-conflict link is largely refuted by empirical research. In the conventional narrative, it is believed that population growth coupled with scarce water resources will lead to… Read more »

What Do the Experts Think?

Connections between climate and security continue to be debated inside and outside of academia. Last week, I attended a workshop at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, together with Nina von Uexkull and nine other invited participants representing a variety of academic disciplines and viewpoints, to discuss impacts of climate variability and… Read more »

Making Our Planet Great Again: Climate Diplomacy and Cooperation at COP23

A measured dose of optimism and small steps towards implementing the Paris Agreement were overall good outcomes for this year’s climate conference held from November 6-17, known officially as the 23rd Convention of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Despite global security concerns, there was little of the rhetoric from earlier COPs where the security implications… Read more »

Let the Desertification Zombie Rest in Peace

The myth that African agriculture and livestock farming is causing desertification originated early in the colonial times. The reason was that colonial authorities wanted to exploit resources for their own profits. Efficient management of natural resources was presented as part of the white man’s burden. The losers were smallholder farmers and herders who lost access… Read more »

– No Land, No Life

Why are individuals willing to join armed groups and fight over land access? To find answers to this question I studied a militia in the Mt Elgon conflict in Kenya. A key finding of interviews with 75 ex-members of the SLDF militia was that the economic importance of land for farming communities is important for… Read more »