Climate Change and Violence in Post-Conflict Colombia

Climate Change and Violence in Post-Conflict Colombia

Marina Malamud
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/IJT.2020070104
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The aim is to explain the link between climate-related issues and violent patterns in Colombia after the 2016 peace agreements. The main premise is that the effects of an erratic climate has an indirect but relevant influence in the emergence of new forms of violence. In other words, the climatic change and environmental degradation act as a “stressor” in different forms of violence in this commodity-based economy recovering from more than 50 years of internal armed conflict. The qualitative approach is based on semi-structured interviews with government representatives and academics to track different perspectives. It is argued that key environmental and climate-related issues in new forms of conflict after the peace deal are linked to the fragmentary distribution and control of land, the ongoing forced migration patterns, and expansion of a new and more lucrative illicit economy.
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Climate Change And Collective Violence

The impact of climate change can be seen as a significant factor in the intensification of social instability. Weather-related events such as the raise in temperature can be considered as a causal effect of conflict occurrence (Ide & Sheffran, 2014; Burke, Hsiang & Miguel, 2014). According to experts in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Marengo,, 2014) recent studies suggest that heavy rains is increasing and the seasonal extremes from 2005 to 2012 were caused by climate variability. However, the studies on the effect of a 1ºC temperature increase and other weather anomalies are mainly focused on short to medium-term violent outcomes; in that sense, there are no overarching theoretical frameworks that verify the environment-conflict relationship as a causal phenomenon but mostly as one possible pathway to understanding heat and aggression (Theisen, 2017).

The post-2014 scientific discussion in climate and security focuses on an indirect implication of climate on security to the extent that climate-driven stresses on natural resources can degrade a nation´s capacity to meet the population´s demands (Werrell & Femia, 2019). There are two possible ways of viewing how the climate affects the likelihood of conflict: a direct material and psychological effect by elevating the levels of aggressiveness that increases hostility and violence, and an indirect socioeconomic factor that leads to conflict by reducing the economic outputs and migration (Koubi, 2019).

With emphasis in the socioeconomic perspective, the grievance or greed mechanisms are seen as relevant factors in the emergence of social conflicts for the control of natural resources (Le Billon, 2009; Humphreys, 2007; O`Lear & Tutten, 2013; Iden & Sheffran, 2014). Additionally, another empirical study suggests that the effect of rise in temperatures and rainfalls is a trigger in the emergence of violent outcomes in agricultural-based economies, highly dependable on few commodities and a prolonged political uncertainty (Burke/Hsiang/Miguel, 2014).

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