Climate and Conflict: Reviewing the Statistical Evidence – A Summary for Policy-Makers

Detges, Adrien 2017: Climate and Conflict: Reviewing the Statistical Evidence. A Summary for Policy-Makers. Berlin: adelphi.

In recent years, a growing number of studies have appeared that analyse the statistical relationship between climate change and violent conflict. Whilst this research offers a comprehensive and systematic assessment of emerging climate-security risks, its results remain ambiguous and are often misinterpreted. This is all the more serious as quantitative evidence dominates current discussions on the security implications of climate change and therefore has a major bearing on policy-making.

In response to this problem, this report provides a brief overview of the quantitative literature on climate and conflict, discusses its main findings and draws key lessons for policymakers. Intended as a short guide for non-expert readers, it helps navigate ongoing debates and make sense of seemingly contradictory statements in current research. Moreover, readers are made aware of major methodological issues and provided with approaches to better assess the true scientific contribution of quantitative climate-conflict analyses.