Does drought cause war?
May 30, 2007
A new study links drought to the outbreak of war, reports New Scientist Magazine.
Combining databases on civil war and water availability, Marc Levy at Columbia University in New York, found “when rainfall is significantly below normal, the risk of a low-level conflict escalating to a full-scale civil war approximately doubles in the following year,” writes Jim Giles, author of the New Scientist article.
Levy said that food shortages that exacerbate pressure between groups and the government.
Giles notes there are serious concerns that climate change, which is expected to increase the risk of drought in the horn of Africa or other politically unstable regions, “could act could act as a threat multiplier’, with events such as droughts toppling unstable governments”.
Nevertheless, writes Giles, not everyone agrees with the link.
“Research has not succeeded in establishing robust, systematic connections between climate and conflict,” Halvard Buhaug of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway, told Giles.
“So far, climate change has not been powerful enough to be the main driver of conflict,” added Jack
Goldstone at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.