September 28, 2010

African War and Climate Change

This week a new article was published by the Proceedings of the Nation Academy of Sciences stating that Climate change and African conflicts are not related.  This is in direct contrast to earlier publication in the same journal in 2009.  While the new article penetrates deeper levels of data and analysis, the authors conclude with the general statement that conflicts are primarily based upon structural issues, such as government corruption, poverty, and so on.  From personal experience, I've witnessed how climate change has reduced access to traditional livelihood strategies and therefore has had a destabilizing impact upon many already distressed landscapes.  While it is interesting to follow the discussion, the obvious lesson with the greatest utility is that climate change does influence conflict although it is simply one of several contributing factors.