Climate Change Could Boost Incidence of Civil War in Africa, Study Finds


Climate change could increase the likelihood of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa by over 50 percent within the next two decades, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Berkeley Contact: Kathleen Maclay | 510.643.5651 | kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Stanford Contact: Ashley Dean | 650.723.4920 | ashdean@stanford.edu

Climate change could increase the likelihood of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa by over 50 percent within the next two decades, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, New York University, Stanford University, and Harvard University, provides the first quantitative evidence linking climate change and the risk of civil conflict. It concludes by urging accelerated support by African governments and foreign aid donors for new and/or expanded policies to assist with African adaptation to climate change.

“Despite recent high-level statements suggesting that climate change could worsen the risk of civil conflict, until now we had little quantitative evidence linking the two,” said Marshall Burke, the study’s lead author and a graduate student at UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. “Unfortunately, our study finds that climate change could increase the risk of African civil war by over 50 percent in 2030 relative to 1990, with huge potential costs to human livelihoods.”

“We were definitely surprised that the linkages between temperature and recent conflict were so strong,” said Edward Miguel, professor of economics at UC Berkeley and faculty director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Evaluation for Global Action. “But the result makes sense. The large majority of the poor in most African count 500

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