Does climate change constitute a threat to peace and security? Many agree that it does. The US administration's new National Security Strategy, launched last month, portrays climate change as 'an urgent and growing threat.'
And this week, a new study appears to add scientific credibility to this concern, suggesting human-caused climate change contributed to the drought that preceded the Syrian civil war.
So does the Syrian case represent a general pattern, where climate changes and extremes are systematically increasing conflict risk? The short answer is no. But if scientists want to explore these links more closely, there are a few steps they need to take.