Prevention of Climate Conflicts

20.11.2009

At the University of Hamburg the first international conference of conflict and peace researchers together with climate scientists is taking place. More than 50 participants from 25 nations have a common goal: putting the research into the security risks of climate change on a sound scientific foundation. For this they will form an international network of conflict and peace researchers and climate scientists.

Climate change poses potential for conflict on many levels: refugees, scarcity of water and food, atomic energy, biofuels or geoengineering. In order to avoid these conflicts, researchers want to develop an early warning system and identify methods for peaceful resolution of conflicts. This is a result of the conference "Climate Change, Social Stress and Violent Conflict" on 19 and 20 November 2009 at the KlimaCampus of the University of Hamburg.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheffran, researcher at the KlimaCampus and organizer of the conference, stated that arguments based on science have only played a small role up to now in the security debate about climate change. Particularly with a view to the climate summit in December in Copenhagen and the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the experts want to bring this topic into the public focus in order to prevent potential violent conflict and "climate wars".

Scheffran fears that the earth could drift into violent conflict caused by climate change if global climate policy-making fails. This would make international cooperation to solve the problems even more difficult, a self-reinforcing effect. The chance for cooperation exists now and must be seized upon.

Conference homepage:

http://clisec.zmaw.de/Climate-Change-Social-Stress-and-Violent-Conflict.873.0.html