Climate Change and Conflict

  • Dagomar Degroot


Scholars in a range of academic disciplines have used distinct methods and sources to connect past climate variability and change to the causes of conflict within, and between, diverse societies. Qualitative approaches spearheaded by historians have concentrated on connections between climat harvest failures, societal instability, and violence during the roughly six centuries of the Little Ice Age (LIA). Quantitative approaches pioneered by geographers, by contrast, have found correlations between temperature or precipitation trends, harvest failures, and wars not only in the LIA but also in the modern era of anthropogenic global warming. Recently, some scholars have found relationships between climate change and the conduct of conflict, particularly in pre-modern centuries distinguished by long, open-ended wars; a few have even hypothesized links between conflict and the origins of climate change. Above all, the burgeoning scholarship that connects climate change to conflict has strongly suggested that violence within and between societies both increases societal vulnerability to climate change and exacerbates the human impacts of climate change.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dagomar Degroot
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryGeorgetown UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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