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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Warming can directly affect the risk of armed conflicts

A new study published in Nature, authored by 11 internationally recognised experts on climate and military conflicts has looked at the impact of the global increase in temperature on the incidence of armed conflicts.

The research team, consisting of American, Belgian, Swedish, German, French and British scientists working at major research institutions around the world, have looked at the optimistic scenario involving 2 °C, and the much more pessimistic one involving 4 °C of warming.

According to their study, over the last one hundred years there was at most a 5 percent chance of natural phenomena (drought, floods or heat waves) causing armed conflict somewhere in the world. However, along with rising food prices, global warming also causes depletion of water reserves and increasingly extreme weather anomalies. The greater the risk of losing access to basic resources, the higher the level of violence in any given region.

While the 2 °C increase of average temperature set down in the Paris agreement would increase the risk of armed conflicts by 13 percent,
4 °C of warming would
increase it by 26 percent.

Currently, the global average temperature is 1 °C higher than it was before the industrial revolution, so whichever scenario is actually realised in the future, the researchers advise the potential adversaries in future conflicts to start coordinating peaceful solutions now.

Katharine Mach, lead author of the study on the connections between climate change and armed conflicts, and one of her co-authors, Kenneth Schultz Video: YouTube/Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
Further information: Stanford News

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