Thursday, August 18, 2016

Scientists Link Conflict and Climate Change

New research demonstrates scientifically that armed conflict in ethnically-divided societies could be connected to climate-related extremes of heat or drought.

Refugees from the Syrian crisis living in an abandoned factory in Lebanon. (Image Credit: Anthony Gale via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
A team of European scientists say they can demonstrate, “in a scientifically sound way”, a link between civil violence based on ethnic divisions, and episodes of drought, intense heat or other climate-linked weather extremes.

That climate change seems to be a factor in social collapse is now fairly firmly established. Researchers have identified evidence of prolonged drought that preceded the collapse of Assyrian and Bronze Age civilizations in prehistory.

And they have also made a connection between the worst drought in almost a thousand years in the Middle East and the continuing humanitarian tragedy of modern Syria.

Repeated warnings
There have also been repeated warnings that, without concerted international action, global temperatures driven by rising greenhouse gas emissions could rise to make life almost intolerable in regions already increasingly insecure.

The latest finding carries lessons for a planet that has yet to confront the demands of climate change.

Researchers who looked at the patterns of political disturbance and climate-related events weren’t especially concerned with climate change:  they were looking for connections.  And they found one:  a demonstrable probability that inter-ethnic divisions could be brought to flashpoint by extended periods of drought.

They report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that in the study period of 1980 to 2010, almost a quarter of all armed conflict in ethnically-divided societies could be connected to extremes of heat or drought.

Read more at Scientists Link Conflict and Climate Change

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