Will climate change lead to more wars?
Professor Halvard Buhaug
Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences
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Is global warming a major security threat? The current European migrant crisis, coupled with claims that the Syrian civil war is partly a result of a devastating drought, has accentuated fears that climate change will bring about more conflict and instability in the future. The notion that environmental degradation can trigger violent competition is far from new, but what can science tell us about contemporary events and future developments?
This talk will reflect on some ways in which climatic changes could constitute a threat to peace and stability. Rather than assuming a direct causal link, it will argue that climate change may exert an indirect effect on conflict risk, but only under specific conditions, thereby increasing the security gap between stable Western societies and fragile societies in the Global South.
This sobering scenario notwithstanding, the reverse association – from armed conflict to environmental vulnerability – is likely much more powerful and has greater policy implications. While climate adaptation and mitigation measures are unlikely to be the most efficient short-term strategy to end conflicts and wars, successful conflict resolution is a fundamental requisite for improving climate resilience in unstable corners of the world.
Speaker Bio: Halvard Buhaug is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Professor of Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His research focuses on security dimensions of climate change and geographic aspects of armed conflict. He is the Lead Author for the for Chapter 16 WG2 of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He co-authored the award-winning book Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War (Cambridge University Press 2013) and is the recipient of the 2015 Karl Deutsch Award. He is currently leading the Climate Variability and Security Threats (CLIMSEC) project funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant as part of the EU's Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation.
This event is free to attend and open to all. Please book your tickets via the Eventbrite.