Climate Change and Security at the Crossroads: Pathways to Conflict or Cooperation?

28.06.2013

Is there any evidence that climate change will lead to conflict or will cooperation prevail? This complex issue has been addressed at a two-day conference over Midsummer in Kristiansand, Norway. 42 researchers from all parts of the world discussed possible future pathways of climate-society interaction at this event, which was jointly organized by the Department of Development Studies of the University of Agder and the Research Group "Climate Change and Security" (CLISEC) of KlimaCampus Hamburg.

The conference consisted of three keynotes and five theme sessions on disasters and security, water and food security, environmental migration and security, and the integration of different themes. A round table discussion on “Conflict or cooperation on climate change?” brought up different perspectives ranging from the necessity of military intervention to peacebuilding policies and societal affectedness.

The presentations focused mainly on Africa, China, and Latin America and combined various research methods including large-n studies, qualitative case studies, complex theoretical frameworks, and modeling and simulation exercises. The talks inspired lively discussions on the central challenges in climate change and security research. One key issue involved data availability and quality, pertaining not only to historic and future data on climate change and societal implications but especially to the social mechanisms leading from climate change to conflict or cooperation.
 
The conference proved that there is no clear indication that climate change will definitely cause war or bring about peace. There are indirect connections that make assessments in this research area highly complex and it is this complexity in the interaction between climate, resources, human well-being, and society that needs to be addressed to enhance our understanding of the relation between climate change and security.

 

Research Group "Climate Change and Security" (CLISEC)