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Climate and war

I’m working on a paper evaluating climate and temporal trends on feed supply for livestock production. One of my co-authors suggested including a thought on climate-induced instability and conflict as an important factor affecting rangeland feed utilization. So, I have finally taken a look at this recent literature and see there is a heated debate being conducted on the issue of Climate and war.

One camp believes that the data demonstrate a clear linkage between incidence of civil war and temperature
(Burke et al. 2009). Others cite the importance of other factors unrelated to climate (Sutton et al. 2010) or use different data to demonstrate no linkage (Buhaug 2010a) – plus stern back and forth in PNAS letters (Burke et al. 2010a, b; Buhaug 2010b). This issue has received quite a bit of attention – in Nature, the Economist, etc. Defining Civil war is not easy. Nor is understanding its causes.

Buhaug H (2010a) Climate not to blame for African civil wars. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, 16477-16482.

Buhaug H Reply to Burke et al.: (2010b) Bias and climate war research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, E186-E187.

Burke MB, Miguel E, Satyanath S, Dykema JA, Lobell DB (2009) Warming increases the risk of civil war in Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106, 20670-20674.

Burke MB, Miguel E, Satyanath S, Dykema JA, Lobell DB (2010a) Climate robustly linked to African civil war. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, E185-E185.

Burke MB, Miguel E, Satyanath S, Dykema JA, Lobell DB (2010b) Reply to Sutton et al.: Relationship between temperature and conflict is robust. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, E103-E103.

Sutton AE, Dohn J, Loyd K et al. 2010. Does warming increase the risk of civil war in Africa? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, E102-E102.

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