Climate triggers: Rainfall anomalies, vulnerability and communal conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa
2012 (English)In: Political Geography, ISSN 0962-6298, E-ISSN 1873-5096, Vol. 31, no 7, 444-453 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The mounting evidence for climate change has put the security implications of increased climate variability high on the agenda of policymakers. However, several years of research have produced no consensus regarding whether climate variability increases the risk of armed conflict. Many have suggested that instead of outright civil war, climate variability is likely to heighten the risk of communal conflict. In particular, erratic rainfall, which reduces the availability of water and arable land, could create incentives for violent attacks against other communities to secure access to scarce resources. Yet, whether groups resort to violence in the face of environmentally induced hardship is likely to depend on the availability of alternative coping mechanisms, for example through market transfers or state accommodation. This suggests that the effect of rainfall anomalies on communal conflict will be stronger in the presence of economic and political marginalization. We evaluate these arguments statistically, utilizing a disaggregated dataset combining rainfall data with geo-referenced events data on the occurrence of communal conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa between 1990 and 2008. Our results suggest that large negative deviations in rainfall from the historical norm are associated with a higher risk of communal conflict. There is some evidence that the effect of rainfall shortages on the risk of communal conflict is amplified in regions inhabited by politically excluded ethno-political groups.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 31, no 7, 444-453 p.
Armed conflict, Climate change, Communal conflict, Environmental security, Rainfall, Sub-Saharan Africa
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-186754DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2012.08.004ISI: 000311529100005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-186754DiVA: diva2:572966
Erratum in: Political Geography 2015:45, 98-99, doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.01.0052012-11-292012-11-292016-08-26Bibliographically approved