Saturday, June 10, 2017

Where climate change is most likely to induce food violence

Terrorists are likely to gain power in places where people are desperate. It is in our own interests to help prevent this, even if we didn't care about other humans.

June 8, 2017 by Jeff Grabmeier

While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country's government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.

"A capable government is even more important to keeping the peace than good weather," said Bear Braumoeller, co-author of the study and associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

While previous studies had examined the impact of climate change-induced weather patterns on violence and the increased danger of violence in weak or failing states, this is the first study to demonstrate that the combination of the two risk factors is even more dangerous than they would be separately.


"We've already started to see climate change as an issue that won't just put the coasts under water, but as something that could cause food riots in some parts of the world," Braumoeller said.

Extreme weather such as droughts and floods could hurt agricultural production in some countries, leading to violence there or elsewhere by people who are desperate for food.

"Climate-induced food scarcity is going to become an increasingly big issue and we wanted to understand which countries are most threatened by it," he said.

The researchers estimated the effects of food insecurity and state vulnerability on the occurrence of violent uprisings in Africa for the years 1991 to 2011.


"We recognized that countries that imported food could be impacted by climate shocks in other parts of the world that suddenly increased prices, even if they weren't experiencing any significant weather impacts themselves," Braumoeller said.


"We found that the most vulnerable countries are those that have weak political institutions, are relatively poor and rely more on agriculture," he said.

"Less vulnerable countries can better handle the problems that droughts or food price fluctuations create."


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