A comment on climate and conflict

There are legitimate reasons to be worried about consequences of future climate change.  Recent claims of a sweeping link between adverse weather and organized armed conflict are unsubstantiated, however. In a new commentary, published in Climatic Change today, we show that an earlier attempt by Hsiang et al. (2013) to establish such a correlation suffers from fundamental problems related to analytical coherence and sample selection. Yet, lack of a general and direct climate effect does not preclude the possibility of a more subtle relationship that only plays out under certain conditions. Disentangling these indirect pathways is a key challenge for future research.

Buhaug, Halvard, Jonas Nordkvelle, Thomas Bernauer, Tobias Böhmelt, Michael Brzoska, Joshua W. Busby, Antonio Ciccone, Hanne Fjelde, Erik Gartzke, Nils Petter Gleditsch, Jack A. Goldstone, Håvard Hegre, Helge Holtermann, Vally Koubi, Jasmin S. A. Link, P. Michael  Link, Päivi Lujala, John O’Loughlin, Clionadh Raleigh, Jürgen Scheffran, Janpeter Schilling, Todd G. Smith, Ole Magnus Theisen, Richard S. J. Tol, Henrik Urdal, and Nina von Uexkull. 2014. One effect to rule them all? A comment on climate and conflict. Climatic Change 127(3-4): 391-397.  [Open Access]

[Update 11 Nov. 2014] A comment on the reply by Hsiang et al. provides further substantiation of our claim: Buhaug, Halvard and Jonas Norkvelle. 2014. Climate and conflict: A comment on Hsiang et al.’s reply to Buhaug et al. PRIO Paper. doi: 10.13140/2.1.4924.6408.  [Open Access]