Friday, January 25, 2019

Climate Change and Conflict

Severe droughts made more likely by global warming worsened conflict in Arab Spring countries early this decade, forcing people to flee, researchers said, publishing evidence they said proved the connection for the first time. The findings, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, showed a particular correlation between climate stresses and conflict in parts of the Middle East and North Africa from 2010–2012, when many countries were undergoing political transformation during the Arab Spring uprisings. Those countries included Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria, the latter three which are in civil wars. The researchers said they also established a climatic link with conflicts that triggered migration in sub-Saharan Africa over the same three years - but not during other time periods.

"Climate change will not cause conflict and subsequent asylum-seeking flows everywhere," said Jesus Crespo Cuaresma of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the Vienna University of Economics and Business. "But in a context of poor governance and a medium level of democracy, severe climate conditions can create conflict over scarce resources," added the study co-author.
The research chimes with other analyses of the war in Syria, highlighting record drought conditions that pushed rural farming families into urban centres. 
Co-author Raya Muttarak, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia's School of International Development, said the study found that drought increased flows of asylum seekers by 95 to 146 percent compared with normal climate conditions.
"Residents in Mali and Niger already know that the increasing scarcity of resources exacerbates the violence between pastoralists and agriculturalists," said International Committee of the Red Cross president Peter Maurer after visiting the region.
Alex Randall, programme manager for the Climate and Migration Coalition, which was not involved in the new study, said the researchers' findings were important in establishing the causal chain between climate change as a driver of war which then forces people to flee and become refugees.

No comments: