Warming increases the risk of civil war in Africa

Marshall B. Burke, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, John A. Dykema, David B. Lobell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Armed conflict within nations has had disastrous humanitarian consequences throughout much of the world. Here we undertake the first comprehensive examination of the potential impact of global climate change on armed conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. We find strong historical linkages between civil war and temperature in Africa, with warmer years leading to significant increases in the likelihood of war. When combined with climate model projections of future temperature trends, this historical response to temperature suggests a roughly 54% increase in armed conflict incidence by 2030, or an additional 393,000 battle deaths if future wars are as deadly as recent wars. Our results suggest an urgent need to reform African governments' and foreign aid donors' policies to deal with rising temperatures.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)20670-20674
    Number of pages5
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Volume106
    Issue number49
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 8 2009

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    Keywords

    • Civil conflict
    • Climate change

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General

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