Climate change and conflict trends
Linking climate change and conflict begins by looking at two major types of possible convergence. These convergences are especially pronounced on the regional level. First, a group of regions likely to show convergence would possess a greater than average level of conflict. In regions with existing high conflict propensity, it may not require too much climate change to exacerbate and incite conflict conditions. Second, areas of higher than average climate change may converge with small levels of conflict to incite tension. There is the possibility that even in areas where there is little historic conflict, greatly increased climate change may reveal hidden conflicts. The areas of convergence point to places where climate change will influence conflict. Each convergence embodies differing types and locations of conflict. Using forecast material on climate change and conflict, and employing lessons learned, this chapter looks at climate change and conflict potentials in different parts of the world. To support the idea of Hot and Cold Wars, regions of climate change and conflict should occur in the Equatorial Tension Belt and the Polar Tension Belt. The ultimate goal, though, is to refine these broad swathes of the planet into more discernible genres of conflict, and identify the likely parties involved. Thus, there will be different regions even within a particular portion of the Polar Tension Belt or Equatorial Tension Belt that show attributes of climate change and conflict. Relying on the lessons from Chapter 2, it is also possible to discuss the nature of conflict in each of the specific regions within the two Tension Belts. There are three main parts to this chapter. First, it lays out the dimensions and depth of future climate change based on the IPCC forecasts. These forecasts reflect regional configurations. Second, trends in conflict also need to be explored, both those in the recent past and those extending into the near-term future. Third, the climate change and conflict forecasts are examined on a regional basis. By examining the prospective areas of climate change and of conflict together, it is possible to identify where these two forces might converge and point to the lessons from historic cases.