Climate Change and Terrorism Links

| April 22, 2015

Climate change is a risk that affects the security of the world. It increases poverty in developing countries, and encourages crime and terrorism. The reason is that once a countries crop collection is spoilt by changes in the climate, this has a compounding effect on the produce of the country, and the pay and wages of locals. If the government fails to raise the taxes from these farmers, then third parties can start to creep in and extort money, due to the lack of security provided by the government, and the squeeze on local resources.

Climate change floods

Climate change floods


In its Quadrennial Defense Review the Pentagon warned that although climate change did not directly cause conflict or war, it acted as a catalyst to the instability, and conflict in affected regions. This would place an ever increasing burden on militaries from around the world as well as civilian institutions. They also warned that the effects of climate change aggravate certain factors in developing countries such as poverty, and environmental degradation. Crucially this would have an impact politically, and cause social tensions resulting in a breeding ground for terrorism, and other forms of violence.

Scientific American

A study from the Scientific American claimed that the zero hour had already arrived, and that climate change had played an influencing role in the violence and rise of extremism in Syria from the likes of ISIS. From 2006 to 2011 Syria experienced some of the worst drying and drought on record there. Agriculture was destroyed, which in turn caused many of the farm families to migrate from the countryside into the cities. Its this influx that has increased the social stresses of the area, coupled with refugees arriving from war torn Iraq. Richard Seager, who is a climate scientist at Columbia University co authored the study, and claimed that the drought had pushed up the prices of local food, which in turn then aggravated poverty.


There are other countries that are already experiencing similar migration issues due to climate change. There is documented evidence that people from pakistan have been moving from areas where the ground has become infertile to industrialized and civilised areas of the cities. Abandoning their much needed food stuff export businesses. Its this migration from farmland that is causing resource competition on a global scale, and placing additional burdens on economies, and society. Government institutions are also at risk, with much needed revenue being lost. Pakistan is already home to terrorist activity, and resource shortages. Multiply this with the tensions that they have with India, and you have a recipe for terrorism and criminality growth in the economy.


We have in the west, the power to change all of this without the need for military intervention, but with our policies on renewables. Its through this leadership that we can really hope to change the world, and reduce terrorism and extremism. We have to expand our use of carbon free technology, including wind, solar, and better produce hybrid and electric vehicles. Better research should be conducted into nuclear energy to help ease the burden of fossil fuels in energy production. These technologies are coming off age. Electric vehicles are being adopted in the mainstream, with charging points appearing in more and more western cities. Plus nuclear technology is getting safer, and better disposal methods of spent fuel is getting developed.

Energy Future

With today being the official Earth day, its vital that we learn to change our habits, and demonstrate it. We have more and more terrorism on western soils, and countries such as Italy are becoming hubs for migrants escaping from the desperation that countries directly affected by climate change and war such as Africa. If you have the chance to adopt renewable technology at home, you should do it. Even if its only using energy saving light bulbs, you can be fighting terrorism at its root.



About the Author: