The relationship between climate change and conflict is increasingly clear: while climate change does not predict where and how violence or conflict will occur, climate change almost certainly contributes to, or exacerbates various underlying conflict dynamics through various climate-conflict “pathways”.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has identified displacement, local resource competition, armed actor incentives, and elite exploitation as consequences of climate change with a bearing on the likelihood of violence, whereas others have added economic uncertainty, food insecurity, and community relocation. When combined with other factors, the risk of violence can increase from both the greater prevalence and increased intensity of sudden onset hazards (i.e., floods, cyclones, and forest fires) and slow onset hazards (i.e., desertification, sea-level rise, and temperature rise). The first conclusion to be drawn from this insight is that more civilians will be exposed to the effects of conflict, in new places, and at the same time – requiring more attention to the protection of civilians as a global priority.

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