Is climate change driving global conflict?

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von Uexkull, Nina & Halvard Buhaug (2021) Is climate change driving global conflict?, Political Violence at a Glance. 1 February.

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While former President Donald Trump frequently denied man-made climate change, the Biden administration has pledged to make climate change a priority, including for national security. In line with years of thinking within the defense sector, the Biden-Harris team refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier,” pointing to the risks of regional instability and resource competition driven by worsening environmental conditions.

2020 earned the dubious distinction of tying with 2016 as the hottest year on record, and observed global ice loss now seems in line with worst-case climate scenarios. Simultaneously, the world has seen an increase in armed conflicts, to numbers not witnessed since the early 1990s.

Do these parallel trends mean that global warming has contributed to the increase in conflicts?

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