The following text are the abstract and introduction of an academic article by Clionadh Raleigh, Andrew Linke, Sam Barrett, and Elham Kazemi, published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
Conflict and climate change might be present in the same areas and expose communities that struggle with these dual risks, but they do not co-occur in consistent or predictable ways. We question how to effectively adapt to climate change in areas experiencing violence. Conflict can make adaptation to climate change more difficult, but when local conflict patterns are better understood it is possible to introduce climate adaptation measures that are effective and responsive to the needs of the population. Further, we argue that conflict mitigation is not a climate adaptation. Even in conflict zones, the most effective climate adaptations focus on climate-centred technical solutions and poverty reduction, local governance legitimacy, and community-led efforts to cooperate in periods of climate stress. We outline some of these possibilities.
We evaluate how climate change adaptation (CCA) interventions can occur in conflict-affected regions. Our motivation is to shift the conversation about climate change and conflict: we do not presume direct causal connections between them, nor the commonly adopted threat multiplier perspective that views human security challenges from a militarised national security viewpoint. Instead of climate change causing or exacerbating conflict, we suggest violence and environmental stresses can be co-occurring crises with neither one causing the other, but placing a dual and contemporaneous strain on affected communities. Research reinforces co-occurrence without causality. Co-occurrence reflects a general state because conflict and climate change can be present in the same areas and expose communities to these dual risks, but they do not co-occur in consistent or predictable ways.
We question how to best proceed with effective conceptualisation, programming, and responses to climate risks in conflict areas. Conflict can make extensive CCA programming difficult, but better understanding of local conflict patterns by integrating high-quality data and analysis can aid CCA programme design, implementation, feasibility, and effectiveness. We outline the forms of CCA programming that are more or less feasible in different conflict environments and consider which forms of programming show effective CCA. We suggest that, even in conflict zones, the most effective CCAs focus on climate-centred technical solutions and poverty reduction, local governance legitimacy, and community-led efforts to cooperate in periods of climate stress.