Climate change will increase the risk of violent armed conflict within countries, according to a study published Wednesday (June 12, 2019) by the Nature journal. Climate has influenced between 3 per and 20 cent of armed conflict risk over the last century and that influence will likely increase dramatically. The study led by Stanford University in the United States involves the University of Hamburg among others and has been compiled by 14 experts from different countries and disciplines.
Risk of conflict rises 26 per cent
Dr. Jürgen Scheffran of the Climate, Climatic Change, and Society (CliCCS) Excellence Cluster at the University of Hamburg, said: “The results are remarkable because they bridge controversial positions. This makes it possible to make joint statements about conflicts caused by future climate change.” In a scenario with 4 degrees Celsius of warming (if societies do not substantially reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases), the impact of climate on conflicts would increase more than five times, jumping to a 26 per cent chance of a substantial increase in conflict risk, the study found.
Effective climate policy reduces other conflict factors
However, climate change could also affect other conflict factors worldwide such as poverty, political instability and social inequality. Innovation and co-operation can hold opportunities for lowering the risk of conflicts. Scheffran stressed: “An effective climate policy, which makes a significant contribution to securing sustainable peace is now of utmost importance.”