Climate changes are beyond imagination: And it also fuels terrorism

Climate change
The consequences of climate change are beyond imagination – from places to species and even people's livelihood.

The consequences of climate change are beyond imagination – from places to species and even people’s livelihood.

Climate change also fuels acts of terrorism and strengthens recruitment efforts of terrorist groups such as Islamic State (ISIS) and Boko Haram, a new study reveals.

Terrorist groups are increasingly using natural resources such as water as a weapon of war, controlling access to it, further compounding and exacerbating resource scarcities, Warned a report commissioned by the German government on Thursday.

The study has endorsing evidence of terrorism, insurgency and organized crime thriving in climate-vulnerable Lake Chad, Guatemala, Syria, and in Afghanistan.

“Insurgency, Terrorism and Organised Crime in a Warming World”

The complex risks arising from climate change, fragility and conflict can contribute to the emergence and growth of terrorist groups, like the Boko Haram and Islamic State (ISIS), said the report titled “Insurgency, Terrorism and Organised Crime in a Warming World” by Berlin think-tank Adelphi.

The German Foreign Office commissioned the report and has found climate change multiples and interacts with existing threats, risks, and pressures, like resource scarcity, population growth, and urbanization.

“These factors together could lead to fragility and violent conflict in which these groups could thrive” says Report author Lukas Rattinger.

Rattinger also says that “Already vulnerable areas could get pulled into a vicious cycle, leading to the rise of terrorist groups who will find it easier to operate, with consequences for us all.”

The scarcer resources become, the more power is given to those who control them, especially in regions where people are particularly reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods.

For example, around Lake Chad in Africa, climate change contributes to resource scarcities that increase local competition for land and water. This competition in turn often fuels social tensions and even violent conflict.

At the same time, this resource scarcity erodes the livelihoods of many people, aggravates poverty and unemployment, and leads to population displacement.

Terrorist groups such as Boko Haram gain power in this fragile environment.

Look out for alternative livelihoods:

As climate change affects food security and the availability of water, and land, affected people will become more vulnerable not only to negative climate impacts but also to recruitment by terrorist groups offering alternative livelihoods and economic incentives.

Sometimes, terrorist groups try to fill the gap left by the state by providing basic services to build support among the local population. As climate impacts worsen, some states will increasingly struggle to provide services and maintain their legitimacy.

The report comes as famine, drought, and war threaten millions in the region around Lake Chad.

On March 31, the United Nation’s  Security Council passed a resolution in the Lake Chad region – home to Boko Haram – outlining their concern about the interplay of factors leading to the crisis there and calling for better collaboration amongst United Nation armed to deal with the situation.

Adelphi is a leading independent think tank and public policy consultancy on climate, environment, and development.

The findings indicate that building resilient communities capable of adapting to the impacts of global warming may be a key tool in minimizing the threat from terrorist organizations around the world.

With Agency Inputs