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New Study: Climate, CO2, don’t cause wars — money and politics do

Posted By Jo Nova On April 26, 2018 @ 4:10 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Two researchers looked at the ten main countries in East Africa in the last fifty years and compared global temperatures to a database of wars, conflicts and refugees.

They found that regional drought and global temperatures didn’t cause wars or drive the total number of displaced people. The things that did were rapid population growth, poor economic times, and political instability.

“What our study suggests is the failure of political systems is the primary cause of conflict and displacement of large numbers of people.”

Thus, if you love peace, it’s better to defend free speech and the constitution than to use cloth shopping bags and change your light globes.

 Climate change is not a key cause of conflict

The Conversation, Mark Maslin

Graph, climate change, conflict.

Probably the most surprising thing about this study is that sometimes academics test hypotheses and publish sensible conclusions.

In our recent paper, my student Erin Owain and I decided to test the climate-conflict hypothesis, using East Africa as our focus. The region is already very hot and very poor, making it especially vulnerable to climate change (in fact neighbouring Chad is by some measures the single most vulnerable country in the world).

 As the planet warms, East Africa’s seasonal rains are expected to become much more unpredictable. … One study led by the European Commission found that declining rainfall over the past century may have reduced GDP across Africa by 15-40% compared with the rest of the developing world.

  The evidence from East Africa is that no single factor can fully explain conflict and the displacement of people. Instead, conflict seems to be linked primarily to long-term population growth, short-term economic recessions and extreme political instability.

If they had compared human CO2 emissions as well, they’d probably find that CO2 causes peace. Since CO2 emissions are linked to higher GDPs (especially in poor nations) it’s not much of a leap to say that in Africa, producing CO2 would probably lead to better economies (more economic development) and less conflict.

As CO2 rose, life expectancy increased too. (Perhaps they can study that in their next paper?).

Does climate change cause refugees?

“As for refugees, over 90% can be explained by PDSI [Palmer Drought Severity Index] lagged by 1 year was significant, population growth lagged by 10 years, economic growth lagged by a year and political stability lagged by 2 years.”

The researchers think that “climate change” causes an increase in refugees, as there were more refugees when the climate got drier in East Africa. But they need to separate “climate change” and drought.  The link of refugees to drought is probably real, but IPCC approved climate models don’t understand what drives droughts, and can’t predict drought trends. Medieval droughts used to be a lot worse, Australia has had megadroughts for the last thousand years and  European droughts in the past 2000 years were also worse  and globally droughts haven’t increased in the last 60 years. There goes that correlation.

Plus, a warmer world is a wetter one. What evaporates up, must come down again — though no one is very good at predicting where.

Droughts may increase refugees, but “climate change”, defined as a pop-cult IPCC approved term, doesn’t.



Owain EL and Maslin, MA (2018) Assessing the relative contribution of economic, political and environmental factors on past conflict and the displacement of people in East Africa, Palgrave Communications, volume 4, Article number: 47, doi:10.1057/s41599-018-0096-6  [Full paper available]

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