Climate mitigation policies and the potential pathways to conflict: Outlining a research agenda

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Gilmore, Elisabeth & Halvard Buhaug (2021) Climate mitigation policies and the potential pathways to conflict: Outlining a research agenda, WIREs Climate Change. DOI: 10.1002/wcc.722.

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Climate policies will need to incentivize transformative societal changes if they are to achieve emission reductions consistent with 1.5°C temperature targets. To contribute to efforts for aligning climate policy with broader societal goals, specifically those related to sustainable development, we identify the effects of climate mitigation policy on aspects of socioeconomic development that are known determinants of conflict and evaluate the plausibility and importance of potential pathways to armed conflict and political violence. Conditional on preexisting societal tensions and socioeconomic vulnerabilities, we isolate effects on economic performance, income and livelihood, food and energy prices, and land tenure as most likely to increase conflict risks. Climate policy designs may be critical to moderate these risks as different designs can promote more favorable societal outcomes such as equity and inclusion. Coupling research with careful monitoring and evaluation of the intermediate societal effects at early stages of policy implementation will be a critical part of learning and moderating potential conflict risks. Importantly, better characterizing the future conflict risks under climate policy allows for a more comprehensive comparison to the conflict risk if mitigation is not implemented and graver climate damages are experienced.


Article is published as Open Access and can be downloaded from the journal's website.

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