In what ways can global climate change be considered a cause of
violent conflict?
(2500 words)



Anthropogenic climate change(due to
greenhouse gases) has been a growing concern in the past century(especially
since the industrial revolution? How long exactly? Data? Al Gore’s book in
2006an inconvenient truth?) that  could lead to inter and intra national conflicts all over the world as
(climate change) applies pressure on natural resources and enhances natural

The aim of
this essay is to detail/list/address the primary ways in which climate change
can, is and will be a major cause of violent conflict and(examine what
governments could/should do) (to take into consideration the ‘solutions’
adopted/adoptable) to slow down the/those/these terrible consequences.

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with the rise of sea levels and storm surges and the inadequate organization/response
of governments; the melting of (Arctic) glaciers(with a particular interest in
the Arctic ones) and its (social and political/trade related) consequences; the
changing in precipitation patterns and its importance in geopolitical
relations(especially for India and China); finally going through the
unsustainable use of energy and water resources (too often improperly
associated with overpopulation) and their management.

essay is therefore going to try to/and demonstrate that climate change is
affecting international relations and is often cause of violent conflict, but
with the right measures it is possible to prevent the worst and look into
creating stable and sustainable global communities.


BODY: (~1700 WORDS)





sea levels and Rising storm surges


1.     It will contaminate
our drinking water: As the rising sea crawls farther and farther up the shore,
in many places it will seep into the freshwater sources in the ground that many
coastal areas rely on for their drinking water. These underground water
sources, called aquifers, are crucial springs of freshwater — in fact, groundwater
accounts for most of the planet’s freshwater. Saltwater is unsafe to
drink, and while it is possible to remove the salt from water, doing so is an
expensive and complicated process. Some communities are already investing
in costly desalination plants in anticipation of hard times ahead. San Diego
County in drought-stricken California is building the largest seawater desalination plant in the western
hemisphere, and the MIT Technology Review reports that the plant will cost about $1
billion. These kinds of costly projects may be unrealistic for coastal
communities on a large scale.

It will interfere with farming: Those same freshwater sources we
use for drinking also supply the water we use for irrigation. The problems here
are the same: The intruding sea could make these groundwater sources saltier.
Saltwater can stunt or even kill crops, but creating freshwater from saltwater
is a costly and unsustainable practice. In a twist of irony, recent research
has suggested that pumping freshwater from the ground for human use may
actually be contributing to a rise in sea levels. After
the groundwater has been used — for drinking, irrigation, or other industrial
purposes — it is often discarded into the ocean, where it adds to the
already-growing volume of water lapping at our shores. 

It will hurt the economy: The tourism and real-estate industries
in coastal areas are likely to take a hit as prime beachfront properties and
recreational areas are washed away by rising waters. This is a fact that some
involved in these industries are finding hard to swallow. North Carolina is a prime example of the
conflict between climate science and economic interests. Several years ago, a
team of North Carolina scientists published a report predicting a three-foot
increase in sea level by the end of the century — bad news for the popular (and
often expensive) North Carolina beaches. Pressured by economically minded local
residents and real-estate stakeholders, the North Carolina government
eventually passed a law banning coastal policymakers from using accelerated
sea-level rise predictions to make decisions for their communities. But such
laws don’t erase the fact that flooded beaches are no attraction for tourists
or property buyers who, in the coming years, may see fit to take their business
to less vulnerable areas.







precipitation patterns




use of energy and water resources(too often wrongly associated to
overpopulation) and wrong management of them



(Too many
people p.ix) … are spreading the false messages that poor women fertility
and.. are to blame for overpopulation and all the problems related to earth

The extensive
and expanding use of oil (and other hydrocarbons) has led to increased
emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and warmer Earth surface
temperatures, together with a wide range of more or less obvious modifications
of the global environment. (OIL, WATER AND CLIMATE p.5)

… simply
put, the population explosion coupled with more efficient technologies is
creating an ever-increasing demand for oil and water. To meet this demand,
people are driven to use unsustainable levels of oil and water, which leads to
a growing global scarcity of this resources. Such scarcity, which may well be
exacerbated by the changing climate, is creating major societal and
geopolitical challenges that have the potential to generate serious conflicts.
(OIL, WATER AND CLIMATE p.5) … the use of one resource is accelerating the
extraction of the other.

Simply put,
oil is too important to be neglected in the study of international security.
Yet this does not mean that the world is overrun with resource wars. (Fueling
the Fire)



the existing institutions of global governance adequate for addressing climate


Climate change
threatens a large share of the world’s population and gilding the bitter pill
would be an act of irresponsibility, denial or intentional deceit. (Climate
Barbarians at the Gate??A critique of
apocalyptic narratives on ‘climate refugees’ Giovanni Bettini)

In the classic
Chinese text The Art of War, Sun Tzu
writes that there are five factors that must be considered before any military
action: weather, terrain, discipline (including supply lines), politics and
leadership. …
(Global warring p.11)

WARRING p.12) Examples of situations where climate and weather have been
deciding factors in several major historical turning points.(example of uk
growing grapes and having wineries and when it got too cold invading an area in
the south of France that could grow it)

WARRING p.13) Retired U.S. admirals and generals published a 2007 report “National security and the threat of climate
change” in which they conclude, among other things, that ‘climate change
acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile
regions of the world.’ And ‘projected climate change poses a serious threat to
America’s national security.’


WARRING p.15) … but one cannot say that tragedy in New Orleans (Hurricane
Katrina) was caused by climate change alone. Curbing climate change without
addressing the myriad ways we interact with our environment, including infrastructure
planning, water management, and disaster response, will not stop other “Katrinas” from happening, although it may stop the
frequency from increasing as climate change is predicted to result in more of
this sort of extreme weather activity.

Pag.35 Global
Warring, the consequences of Katrina(2005) are influencing not just the US but
the whole Globe.


London Floods Global Warring


Portugal suing Spain for “stealing” its water Global Warring


Global Warring Oil disruptions in US gulf coast- China’s reaction-closer to



Later, Gore meets with people who
have suffered through terrible and super-charged storms, such as recent
typhoons in the Pacific. He lays clear the science that climate change is
warming our oceans, providing extra fuel to make storms like Irma, Harvey,
Sandy, and Maria more powerful. In these spots, his science is dead on.











Paskal, C.
(2010), Global warring: how
environmental, economic, and political crises will redraw the world map. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Gautier, C.
(2008), Oil, water and climate: an
introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Bettini, G.
(2013) “Climate Barbarians at the Gate?” A Critique of Apocalyptic Narratives
on Climate Refugees’ Geoforum, Vol. 45.

Colgan, Joe D.
(2013) ‘Fueling the Fire: Pathways from Oil to War’, International Security,
Vol. 38, No. 2, Fall, pp. 147–180.

Ehrlich, Paul
& Anne Ehrlich (2013) ‘Can a Collapse of Global Civilization be Avoided?’
Proceedings of the Royal Society). Available here:

Mazo, J
(2010), Climate Conflict: How Global Warming Threatens Security and What to
Do About It Routledge.?

Dalby, Simon
(2012) ‘Climate Change and Environmental Security’, in Paul D. Williams (ed),
Security Studies: An Introduction (London and New York: Routledge, 2012).


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