Journal Article

Climate, Conflict, and Social Stability: What Does the Evidence Say?

Hsiang, SM, and M Burke (2014). Climate, Conflict and Social Stability: What does the evidence say? Climatic Change 123: 39-55.

Published September 12, 2014


Are violent conflict and socio-political stability associated with changes in climatological variables? We examine 50 rigorous quantitative studies on this question and find consistent support for a causal association between climatological changes and various conflict outcomes, at spatial scales ranging from individual buildings to the entire globe and at temporal scales ranging from an anomalous hour to an anomalous millennium. Multiple mechanisms that could explain this association have been proposed and are sometimes supported by findings, but the literature is currently unable to decisively exclude any proposed pathway. Several mechanisms likely contribute to the outcomes that we observe.