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How Climate Change Affects Conflict and Peace Essay

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Updated: Jul 26th, 2022

In recent years, the Earth’s climate has changed markedly: some countries suffer from abnormal heat waves, others from winters that are too harsh and snowy for these places. Climate change is one of today’s significant difficulties. Unpredictable weather patterns that threaten food production, and rising sea levels that inflate the danger of natural hazards are the outcomes of climate change and have a global nature and unprecedented degree. The consequence of global warming on the planet’s natural landscape regularly leads to geopolitical changes that threaten the stability of already vulnerable regions. Climate change threatens human security, creating multiple vulnerabilities and exacerbating existing social tensions. Unless action is taken now, subsequent adaptation to climate change will be more challenging and costly.

Global temperature increases result in a scarcity of natural resources; climate change is becoming a security threat, particularly in politically unstable territories of the world. Conflicts often arise between different social groups regarding resource-dependent communities (Sharifi et al., 2020). Disputes related to resource scarcity stem from multiple tensions in land-use systems, control of seasonal livestock routes, rangeland restoration, and new farming and production forms. However, looking at climate change solely through the lens of conflict narrows the scope for human security-based solutions.

The article by Ayyoob Sharifi, Dahlia Simangan, and Shinji Kaneko (2020) studied this topic in more depth. Their work examined papers over the past three decades related to climate change and its relationship to conflict and peace. Many different articles, reviews, and studies on this topic have been published recently. However, according to Sharifi et al. (2020), there is still no bibliometric analysis in this area. Thus, the purpose of their study is to fill this gap for a greater understanding of the problem at hand.

The authors are professors and researchers at various universities and have several dozen papers on social science, the natural sciences, and the environment to their credit. The authors have included many charts and tables to help understand the research they describe and make the structure of the article clearer. The review looks at various works from different years on the environment, connections to conflict, and the impact of climate change. The authors use outside sources to corroborate their statements. As a research method, bibliometric analysis was used to measure documents related to recording and transmitting knowledge and apply statistical techniques to the library and information science (Xu & Yu, 2019). This approach makes the work not only impartial but also objective. The results of this work can help identify understudied research topics that require further attention and can be used by scholars and policymakers as additional guidance in the field.

Security threats arise from the usual geopolitical and territorial disputes, but environmental factors can also undermine peace and safety. In terms of human security, climate change can hamper economic growth and limit the ability of vulnerable communities to cope with the challenges they face, which causes chronic poverty, insecurity, and unnecessary loss. Extreme weather events, sea-level rise, ecosystem degradation, and river basin depletion increase the risk of potential conflict. At the same time, the outcomes of climate change often overlap with another complex social and environmental problems. They become a threat multiplier and exacerbate the harmful effects of climate change so that it is perceived as a significant cause of hostility. While the geography of conflict remains the same, the increasing scale of the effects of climate change is reducing the range of possible adaptation strategies previously used by communities to manage and prevent conflict. As the available tools become less effective and less efficient, disagreements among different social groups can develop into protracted and chronic conflicts.

A problem like climate change deals with several things and causes many consequences, and conflict formation is only one of them; biodiversity loss should also be noted. Biodiversity enhances the ability and function of species and contributes to their resilience and adaptation to the environment (Jamieson, 2016). In other words, all living things in any ecosystem perform an important task, and the combination of their functionality contributes to the ability of any ecosystem and their resilience to various damages and losses. Biodiversity loss frequently decreases the environment’s productivity, making the natural storehouse of goods and services constantly used by humans impoverished. Prolonged climate change affects the vitality and health of ecosystems, causing shifts in the distribution of plants, pathogens, animals, and even human settlements. Thus, the problem is global and requires appropriate attention, control, and regulation.

It is essential to understand that climate change is not the primary cause or source of conflict but often, when combined with a set of implicit tensions, exacerbates conflict situations. Human security fundamentals are increasingly at risk, especially in countries in economic recession and fragile states. The problem of climate change should be considered not only in terms of conflict formation but also in terms of other equally significant consequences. People should pay particular attention to the loss of biodiversity. An objective approach and a broader view of the situation will help find new ways to address this issue.

References

Jamieson, L. (2016). Families, relationships and ‘environment’: (Un)sustainability, climate change and biodiversity loss. Families, Relationships and Societies, 5(3), 335-355.

Sharifi, A., Simangan, D., & Kaneko, S. (2020). Three decades of research on climate change and peace: A bibliometrics analysis. Sustainability Science, 1-17.

Xu, Z., & Yu, D. (2019). A Bibliometrics analysis on big data research (2009–2018). Journal of Data, Information and Management, 1(1), 3-15.

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