Climate Change and the Syrian Civil War Revisited

This peer-reviewed journal article, coauthored with colleagues Jan Selby (University of Sussex), Omar Dahi (Hampshire College, USA) and Christiane Frohlich (University of Hamburg), will be published on-line in the next few days at the journal Political Geography.  The abstract reads:

For proponents of the view that anthropogenic climate change will become a ‘threat multiplier’ for instability in the decades ahead, the Syrian civil war has become a recurring reference point, providing apparently compelling evidence that such conflict effects are already with us. According to this view, human-induced climatic change was a contributory factor in the extreme drought experienced within Syria prior to its civil war; this drought in turn led to large-scale migration; and this migration in turn exacerbated the socio-economic stresses that underpinned Syria’s descent into war. This article provides a systematic interrogation of these claims, and finds little merit to them. Amongst other things it shows that there is no clear and reliable evidence that anthropogenic climate change was a factor in Syria’s pre-civil war drought; that this drought did not cause anywhere near the scale of migration that is often alleged; and that there exists no solid evidence that drought migration pressures in Syria contributed to civil war onset. The Syria case, the article finds, does not support ‘threat multiplier’ views of the impacts of climate change; to the contrary, we conclude, policymakers, commentators and scholars alike should exercise far greater caution when drawing such linkages or when securitising climate change.”

This article has 1 comment

  1. Pingback: Updated: Climates Don’t Start Wars, People Do | Science Matters

Comments are closed.