When life conditions are getting tough, then people will fight for their survival. This has happened previously, and this will happen in the future as well. The trouble is that fights for survival will likely increase greatly as living conditions will deteriorate more quickly and over larger areas of our planet as our planet is warming. This is especially true in areas where living conditions are already harsh in the first place, such as in Sub-saharan Africa.
For the first time, astudy demonstrates the quantitative relationship between climatic conditions and incidence of civil war. The study, published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences (PNAS), demonstrates that civil war in Sub-Saharan Africa is closely linked to temperature and rainfall patterns: the likelihood of armed conflict increases with higher temperature and lower rainfall. Specifically, conflict increased by 50% with every 1 degree Celsius of temperature increase.This equals to about 390.000 people dying in battle.
The researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and from Stanford University demonstrate this relationship by correlating temperature with the number of armed conflicts in Africa. Based on projections of climate models, temperature in Africa will increase by about 1 degree Celsius by 2030. This would result in a 50% increase in the number of deaths from civil war within the next two decades, assuming that all else stays equal.
To decrease the deterioration of living conditions and therefore to avoid an increase in armed conflicts, the researchers urge governments for stronger policies that assist African countries in adapting to climate change – a timely reminder about the severity of climate change just before Copenhagen.