Climate change has and will continue to have far-reaching impacts on environmental, social and economic conditions, which people and governments will be forced to adapt to.
Increasingly, climate change and the associated increase in the frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and rising sea level is recognized as not only having humanitarian impacts, but also creating political and security risks that can affect national/regional stability and the welfare of people.
This has led to increased political interest in the influence of climate change on water availability and human security. Specifically, whether climatic and hydrological changes and increasing variabilities trigger and multiply conflict at various scales or induce cooperation between and within countries and how this affects human security remains contested.
There is a growing consensus in the climate change and conflict literature that climate change can be considered a threat multiplier for existing tensions. Besides climatic factors there are underlying causes such as poverty, weak institutions, mistrust, inequalities and lack of information and basic infrastructure that may also contribute to these tensions. In comparison, functional and well-adapted institutions can facilitate cooperation and conflict resolution and are therefore considered as threat minimizers that help to maintain human security.
Climate change may impact directly or indirectly on any of the dimensions of human security. People and governments can adapt to these impacts, but their capacity to do so varies; it is dependent on a multitude of factors such as access to assets, knowledge, institutions, power relations, etc. Due to the complexities within the natural system and its interlinkages to the social, economic and political spheres, a highly complex nexus has evolved that connects climate change, water conflicts and human security.
However, this complexity has made it difficult for researchers to measure the effect of climate change on conflict and human security.
This report presents a comprehensive regional assessment of these questions in the CLICO study area – the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Sahel – in terms of climate change impacts, vulnerabilities, conflict/cooperation and human security at various scales and in a variety of contexts.
The Mediterranean, Middle East and Sahel were selected because they are regions that are prone to extreme weather events, such as frequent droughts or floods, which are likely to be triggered by climate change and existing conflicts or tensions taking place at various intensities and scales. An improved understanding of the climate-water-security nexus is therefore key to describing and assessing the vulnerabilities and adaptive capacity to climate change related hazards.Translation: Many, many people are already prepared to kill one another, even to bring down their own societies, for the sake of access to water. Just visit Radio Dabanga; Sudan is a preview for all of us.
Many of those countries are in regions at least partly controlled by nuclear-armed nations like India, Pakistan, Israel, and China—not to mention Russia and the United States. Unless they all get their priorities straight, this is going to get ugly—and not just for poor dark-skinned people we don't know or care about.