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Scenarios and Decision Support for Security and Conflict Risks in the Context of Climate Change

Schweizer, Vanessa
Current climate change reports 2019 v.5 no.1 pp. 12-23
climate change, climatic factors, politics, risk, risk assessment, socioeconomics
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Concerns about conflict induced by climate change have captured the attention of policymakers, but the scientific foundations for these claims are contested. This review briefly examines different ways that the future of conflict risk in the context of climate change has been characterized, with a particular focus on scenarios. RECENT FINDINGS: Scientific consensus remains low over the role of climate change as a driver of conflict risk. This is rooted in disagreements over the interplay of socio-economic and climatic factors contributing to conflict risk. There is less controversy that climate change vulnerability, coupled with inappropriate adaptation solutions (i.e., maladaptation) in places where conflict dynamics already exist (e.g., high levels of inequality, marginalization, and political rivalries), tends to increase existing tensions. Additionally, scenario analysis has had an unremarkable presence in recent literature, with more attention being paid to knowledge-accumulation challenges for conflict research. Conceptual innovations from the wider climate change research community for the meaning of climate change risk, as well as for scenario research design for risk assessment in the context of climate change, may be vehicles for knowledge accumulation within the fields of security and conflict research.