Heat waves, droughts and other climate driven disasters enhance the risk of war and conflict in ethnically-diverse countries, according to a new study.
“Devastating climate-related natural disasters have a disruptive potential that seems to play out in ethnically fractionalized societies in a particularly tragic way,” Carl Schleussner, from policy institute Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), said in the study.
The study, which used data analysed from several decades reported that between 1980 and 2010 around 23 percent of conflict outbreaks in these ethnically-diverse countries have occurred during climate-related disasters, such as droughts and heatwaves.
“It’s significant that you can make that statement—that nearly 25 percent of those conflicts coincided with some type of climate-related disaster,” said Jonathan Donges, a Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research scientist who helped lead the new study.
The findings have ominous implications for prospects of peace on a warming planet. Greenhouse gas pollution and rising temperatures are causing droughts, floods and other natural disasters to become more severe.