Current Climate Change Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 200–209 | Cite as

Climate Change, the Economy, and Conflict

Climate Change and Conflicts (E Gilmore, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Climate Change and Conflicts

Abstract

Purpose of Review

The relationship between climate change and violent conflict has been the subject of intense academic as well as policy debate over the past few decades. Adverse economic conditions constitute an important channel linking the two phenomena. Here, I review the theoretical arguments and recent empirical evidence connecting climate-driven adverse economic conditions to conflict.

Recent Findings

Climate-induced adverse economic conditions could lead to conflict by lowering the opportunity cost of violence, weakening state capacity, and exacerbating political and economic inequalities/grievances. The empirical literature does not provide robust evidence for a “direct” climate-economy-conflict relationship.

Summary

Recent empirical research offers considerable suggestive evidence that climate-driven economic downturns lead to conflict in agriculture-dependent regions and in combination and interaction with other socioeconomic and political factors. Future research should further examine the context(s) in which climate-induced adverse economic conditions led to conflict, and also identify and test the precise empirical implications of the theoretical mechanisms through which these adverse economic conditions lead to conflict using disaggregated data and appropriate estimation procedures.

Keywords

Climate change Climate variability Economic and agricultural output Food prices Conflict 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of BernBernSwitzerland

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