Climate & Conflict
Regions in Focus
This section shows a global overview of a selected set of hotspot regions, which are currently strongly affected by
In this map, worldwide scores in each of these three topics were calculated on a one-degree latitude-longitude grid.
Click/tap a region to reveal detailed scores. Or, choose one of the three factors at the bottom of the map, in order to view them in isolation.
- The grid scores for the three dimensions (Climate Impact, Scope Conditions and Conflict) were developed in cooperation with the Center for Crisis Early Warning. They combine publicly available data sources such as ACLED, the World Bank and V-Dem with a custom analysis provided by Verisk Maplecroft.
- The hotspot shapes and labels were defined based on existing analysis in the context of the Climate Diplomacy project.
- The hotspot scores present an aggregation of the grid scores for the contained area. Here, scores were normalized across dimensions, so that the three dimensions are presented with comparable overall value distributions across hotspots.
Negative causal relationships between climate and conflict become more likely when certain
What is the relation between these factors?
The interplay between climate and conflict has received increasing attention from researchers and policymakers over the last two decades. There is significant overlap between countries most affected by climate change and those most at risk of violent conflict. Evidence for adverse effects of climate factors on conflict exists predominantly for internal conflict. Despite this, climate factors are currently thought to play only a minor role as a direct cause or trigger of conflict compared to other risk factors. However, they can influence conflicts indirectly by impacting those factors, for example by exacerbate existing tensions and grievances and lowering the opportunity costs of conflict. In doing so, climate factors may affect the duration and intensity of existing conflicts stronger than the risk of conflict onset. Climate change in the context of conflict is therefore considered a potential “threat multiplier” first and foremost.
Farmer herder conflict
What can we learn from looking at the ongoing conflicts in Nigeria?
Nigeria is an example of a country with high conflict intensity, which is frequently discussed within a climate narrative. With a high dependency on agriculture, preexisting tensions between different ethnic groups and high levels of state fragility, several scope conditions for adverse climate-conflict effects are present.
This case study explores the history of conflict, the changes in climate patterns and the socio-economic situation in Nigeria. It highlights how multiple pressures acting within the country can lead to heightened societal and economic tensions and potentially contribute to the persisting violence.
After years of lower numbers of incidents in the early 2000s, the intensity of violent conflict in Nigeria has been consistently high over the last decade. While it is difficult to directly attribute instances of violence to specific climatic or socio-economic developments, it is possible to identify trends in the state of ecosystems and population that help to explain their likelihood.
One of the most defining factors for determining how sensitive a region is to a deteriorating climate conditions and ecosystems is the direct dependency of people on agriculture for income or subsistence. If the climate changes, food security and food prices will be directly affected. Employment in agriculture has been steadily dropping in Nigeria from 80% in 1960 to around 40% in 1980 but saw this reversed after that.
Traditionally, both herders and farmers coexisted mostly peacefully alongside each other. Recent developments like diversification in agriculture, changing crop cycles as well as questions around land ownership have since contributed to tensions between them.
The SPEI (Standardised Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index) measures the water balance based on rainfall and evapotranspiration. While the year-to-year fluctuation is big, the loss of water through evaporation and transpiration clearly outweighed the gain of water through precipitation over the last two decades. This increases the pressure on natural ecosystems as well as agricultural activities.
While the state of ecosystems and soil are in an increasingly precarious state, they have to yield food for a growing population. Over the last two decades the
We will continue to investigate the relationship between climate and conflict in more detail in a multi-disciplinary research project as well as further communication outputs and dialogue formats.
In particular, we are currently investigating dynamic, data-driven hotspot detection as well as temporal trends.
Let us know in case you would like to be notified of any future activities and results in that space.
Find more information on the data sources and processing behind this site in our technical notes.
Site news and change log
- 2023-03-01 | Update conflict data & improved accessibility
- 2022-10-17 | Official Launch