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Climate Change drives Conflict

Climate change does not directly cause conflict. It creates instability which can lead to violence, especially in communities with poor resources.

The Horn of Africa

Drought, famine, crop failure and the spread of desert, due to climate change, have fanned conflict between herders and farmers. Migration across national boundaries produces unrest. The jihadist group Al-Shabaab has caused additional hardship by cutting water supplies to cities from which it has been expelled.

West Africa

Lake Chad , close to the borders of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, shrank rapidly between 1960 and 2010, due to climate change. As a consequence of drought and desertification, desperate young men have been attracted to the jihadist Boko Haram, for food and the prospect of pillage.

The Middle East

The River Jordan

Major rivers, notably the Nile and the Euphrates, cross national boundaries. Global warming will add to existing disputes between upstream and downstream nations.

The river Jordan provides water to Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. Israel has been accused of "stealing" water, especially from the occupied West Bank. Gaza is starved of fresh water due to the Israeli blockade. This adds to existing political tensions. Can promising new techniques - desalinating sea-water by reverse osmosis - help to mitigate conflicts over water?

The civil war in Syria was precipitated by a catastrophic drought causing agricultural failure and forcing families to flee from the countryside into urban areas. Rising food prices brought the Arab Spring into Syria; Bashar Al-Assad responded with violence.

Drought, leading to starvation and cholera, helped to precipitate the Houthi rebellion in Yemen. The situation has since been worsened by bombing and blockade.

North Africa


Low rainfall in North Africa between 2007 and 2010 contributed to the emergence of Arab Spring which by 2017 had overthrown oppressive regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, and later spread to Syria.

The Great Green Wall is a symbol of hope.

South Asia

Coastal cities, especially those close to the estuaries of large rivers, are liable to flooding as sea levels rise. Sea water will threaten agriculture and the provision of fresh water.

Population movement will bring border clashes.

The charity Practical Action has developed floating gardens and small-scale fish farms to address these problems, especially in Bangladesh.

Central Asia

Farming in Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan relies on melting glaciers for irrigation and for hydroelectricity.

Glacier loss will exacerbate border disputes in this region.

Europe and North America

The chief impact of climate change on prosperous nations has been an increase in climate-driven immigration from North Africa and the Middle East.

Military spending far exceeds climate spending.

Racists and nationalist populists have attempted to blame immigrants for a shortage of jobs, schools, housing, etc.

South America

Clearing of Amazon rainforests, for mining and livestock, threatens indigenous livelihoods and intensifies global warming.

The Arctic Ocean

As Arctic sea-ice melts, it is feared that the US, Canada, Russia and China will come into conflict over the sea lanes that are opening up, and over underwater minerals.

Extinction Rebellion

Hastings against War welcomes and celebrates Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St Leonards.

We share their hopes and their concerns.

See Environmental Costs of Militarism