Climatic Change

, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 613–625 | Cite as

Is climate change a driver of armed conflict?

  • Ole Magnus Theisen
  • Nils Petter Gleditsch
  • Halvard Buhaug
Article

Abstract

The world is generally becoming less violent, but the debate on climate change raises the specter of a new source of instability and conflict. In this field, the policy debate is running well ahead of its academic foundation—and sometimes even contrary to the best evidence. Although comparative research on security implications of climate change is rapidly expanding, major gaps in knowledge still exist. Taken together, extant studies provide mostly inconclusive insights, with contradictory or weak demonstrated effects of climate variability and change on armed conflict. This article reviews the empirical literature on short-term climate/environmental change and intrastate conflict, with special attention to possible insecurity consequences of precipitation and temperature anomalies and weather-related natural disasters. Based on this assessment, it outlines priorities for future research in this area.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1(DOC 102 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ole Magnus Theisen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nils Petter Gleditsch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Halvard Buhaug
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Political ScienceNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW)Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)OsloNorway

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