International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Understanding the Connections Between Climate Change and Conflict: Contributions From Geography and Political Ecology

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Purpose of Review: The connections between climate change and conflict inherently raise questions related to space, scale, and nature-society relations, all themes central to modern geographic thought. The geographic and political ecological literature—and the literature informed by geography and political ecology—generally explores the relationship between climate change and conflict through case studies, employing a wide range of methods that enable understandings not accessible through exclusively large-n quantitative studies. As a result, this literature focuses on questions and challenges that are generally overlooked in the wider climate-conflict literature, including the importance of spatial and temporal scale and the ways in which vulnerability and resilience frame this relationship. Recent Findings: This literature uniquely challenges the dominant “threat multiplier” framing of climate change’s impact on climate, questioning this narrative’s unidirectional flow from climate vulnerability to conflict, exploring how climate change can create opportunities for peacebuilding as well as conflict, and identifying how climate adaptation activities can themselves become catalysts for conflict. Summary: While geographic and political ecological lenses on the relationship between climate change and conflict do not have all the answers needed to address the challenges and opportunities presented by this relationship, the framings these lenses offer are essential to building meaningful, actionable understandings going forward.

Publication Title

Current Climate Change Reports

Publication Date

12-1-2017

Volume

3

Issue

4

First Page

233

Last Page

242

ISSN

2198-6061

DOI

10.1007/s40641-017-0080-z

Keywords

climate change, conflict, environmental security, geography, political ecology, qualitative

Disciplines

Environmental Studies | Geography | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

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