JSRP Paper 8

Title: Climate Change and Conflict: a systematic evidence review

Authors: Tim Forsyth and Mareike Schomerus

Date: September 2013

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This paper draws on a systematic review undertaken during the inception phase of the Justice and Security Research Programme in 2011, seeking to analyse the evidence for the connections between climate change and violent conflict.

The authors report on what academic research is saying about the links between climate change and violent conflict and then examine how the various studies make their arguments for such linkages.   This allows for an evaluation of the evidence on whether climate change will accelerate violent conflict and the likely ways such connections might occur.

The authors' findings suggest  there are strong disagreements in the literature and these reflect different ways of explaining the origins of conflict. They argue that these models of conflict need to be examined critically, with a detailed understanding of all the elements that cause violent conflict and its continuation, before believing some of the more catastrophic predictions about climate change and conflict.