What have we learned about climate change and interstate conflict in the last decade?

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Francesca Lambert


climate change, interstate conflict, water scarcity, global warming


A review of the extant literature reveals little consensus on the relationship between climate change and global conflict. A general model of the relationship between climate and conflict is discussed. It is argued that pathways from climate change to interstate conflict are difficult to identify due to multiple stressors resulting from climate change occurring simultaneously, with an array of possible interactions that are relevant in specific contexts. In particular, the literature on trans-state water scarcity and variability demonstrates tendencies towards both conflict and cooperation. Directions for future research are proposed to assist policymakers to anticipate international tensions caused by climate change and design targeted interventions to address the risks.

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