14 November 2019
  • Climatic events
  • Environmental terrorism
  • Environmental warfare
  • Human security
  • Resource scarcity

'Understanding Environmental Terrorism in Times of Climate Change: Implications for Asylum Seekers in Germany'

This academic paper can be found here.

Authors: Christina Kohler, Carlos Denner dos Santos and Marcel Bursztyn

With an increasing global population and undeniable climate change, environmental terrorism is causing unprecedented levels of human insecurity. The use of resources as weapons of armed conflict is particularly effective on vulnerable societies, triggering large-chain global migration related issues.

This research advances the understanding of environmental terrorism, addresses the connections of resources and conflict, and the effects of climatic events on these phenomena.

The existing related body of literature was scrutinized and complemented with an in-depth empirical study of 100 asylum seekers from 17 countries hosted in German facilities.The results point to the use of environmental terrorism by governments or opposition groups, or both, in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Interviewees provided accounts of how perpetrators oppressed and harmed their enemies and civilians by attacking, drastically reducing or cutting the supply of resources, such as water or electricity, and by contaminating water with disease-causing agents.

This paper elaborates on the conflict in Syria by presenting empirical evidence on the climate's contribution to the armed conflict in order to demonstrate that environmental terrorism is particularly effective on populations living in drought-stressed regions.

Considering that 81% of interviewees reported observing water or electricity scarcity – or both – in their place of origin, this research claims that mounting climate pressure on resources is likely to increase the use of environmental terrorism, thereby contributing to migration and human insecurity across regions.

The purpose of this research is to inform academia and policy makers on the strategic importance of monitoring and preventing resource related threats and violence.

Photocredit: Unsplash/Parsing Eye.