Climate Conflict

Overview

Climate change has been a key factor in the rise and fall of societies and states from prehistory to the recent fighting in the Sudanese state of Darfur. It drives instability, conflict and collapse, but also expansion and reorganisation. The ways in which cultures have met the climate challenge provide object lessons for how the modern world can handle the new security threats posed by unprecedented global warming.

Combining historical precedents with current thinking on state ...

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Overview

Climate change has been a key factor in the rise and fall of societies and states from prehistory to the recent fighting in the Sudanese state of Darfur. It drives instability, conflict and collapse, but also expansion and reorganisation. The ways in which cultures have met the climate challenge provide object lessons for how the modern world can handle the new security threats posed by unprecedented global warming.

Combining historical precedents with current thinking on state stability, internal conflict and state failure suggests that overcoming cultural, social, political and economic barriers to successful adaptation to a changing climate is the most important factor in avoiding instability in a warming world. The countries which will face increased risk are not necessarily the most fragile, nor those which will suffer the greatest physical effects of climate change.

The global security threat posed by fragile and failing states is well known. It is in the interest of the world's more affluent countries to take measures both to reduce the degree of global warming and climate change and to cushion the impact in those parts of the world where climate change will increase that threat. Neither course of action will be cheap, but inaction will be costlier. Providing the right kind of assistance to the people and places it is most needed is one way of reducing the cost, and understanding how and why different societies respond to climate change is one way of making that possible.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'In this excellent Adelphi book, Jeffrey Mazo sheds revealing analytical light on the consequences of climate change for international security. Impressive in scope, and admirably measured, Mazo’s forensic examination of the science, history and likely strategic impact of climate change is required reading for national-security policymakers and practitioners and will have broader appeal for all those interested in understanding one of the great challenges of our time.’
Professor Alan Dupont, Director of the Centre for International Security Studies, Sydney University

Dr Mazo authoritatively tackles a much overlooked, yet pivotal dimension of the broader climate change debate – the security implications of evolving climate trends. He makes a strong case, anchored in both contemporary developments and historical analysis, that climate change can serve as a ‘threat multiplier’, contributing to instability, exacerbating conflicts and complicating foreign-policy decision-making. This book is a must read for foreign-policy professionals.’
Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, former US Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415591188
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/22/2010
  • Series: Adelphi Series
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 1,320,964
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Mazo is Managing Editor of Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, the bi-monthly journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Chapter 1 Global Warming and Climate Change 15

Ice Ages and hockey sticks: climate past and present 16

Projections and policy: Climate future 21

The climate threat 31

Chapter 2 Climate and History 43

Environment, culture and conflict 46

The lessons of history 63

Chapter 3 Darfur: The First Modern Climate-Change Conflict 73

Geographical, cultural and ecological contexts 74

History of the conflict 77

Climate and causality 79

Chapter 4 Conflict, Instability and State Failure: The Climate Factor 87

Why states fail 88

The climate factor 94

Does climate matter? 100

States of concern 105

Some less fragile states 112

The bottom line 118

Chapter 5 Climate Change and Security 119

Paradox and policy 122

Strategic implications 125

Making the right future 130

Chapter 6 Conclusion 137

Glossary 143

Notes 145

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