Climate Not to Blame for African Civil Wars

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Buhaug, Halvard (2010) Climate Not to Blame for African Civil Wars, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(38): 16477–16482.

​Vocal actors within policy and practice contend that environmental variability and shocks, such as drought and prolonged heat waves, drive civil wars in Africa. Recently, a widely publicized scientific article appears to substantiate this claim. This paper investigates the empirical foundation for the claimed relationship in detail. Using a host of different model specifications and alternative measures of drought, heat, and civil war, the paper concludes that climate variability is a poor predictor of armed conflict. Instead, African civil wars can be explained by generic structural and contextual conditions: prevalent ethno-political exclusion, poor national economy, and the collapse of the Cold War system.

Read the article here (Open Access)

Authors

Halvard Buhaug

Halvard Buhaug

Research Professor at PRIO; Professor of Political Science, NTNU

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