En-en adult card 40 armed conflicts

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Card #40: Armed Conflicts

En-en adult card 40 front.png

We shouldn’t let it come to this...


This card is intended to be placed last, as the text suggests.

It can already be said that climate change has been one of the causes of some conflicts, such as in Rwanda or Syria.

In a world that is suffering from all the consequences described in the game, it is hard to imagine that armed conflicts can be avoided.

In 2007, when the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Prize, it was the Nobel Peace Prize. And there are very good reasons for that.




Other possible links

Other causes

  • Fossil fuels Armed conflicts linked to fossil energies are more a geopolitical consequence than a direct climatic one. But it may still be interesting to mention this relationship.

Other consequences

  • Human activities It's the final loop of the Club of Rome. All this will eventually regulate itself, but not necessarily peacefully. The players often make this link and sometimes propose to roll up the Fresk to connect the beginning and ending edges. Moreover, it is noteworthy that humankind appears in the first and last cards, but not in the middle of the Fresk.
  • Fossil Fuels Conflicts are often linked to fossil fuels, but the link is more the other way round.

Examples of conflicts related to climate change

"Is there evidence that it will end in armed conflict?" Although this card comes as a logical follow-up to all the previous ones, some players may say that there is no evidence that climate change will lead to armed conflict. However, a study condensing 55 others showed that for every degree of temperature increase, there will be an increase of 2.4% in interpersonal conflicts (domestic violence, aggression, murders...) and 11.3% in intercultural conflicts (riots, ethnic violence, invasions, civil wars or other forms of political instability)[1].

Situation in Sudan

Numerous interactions between factors (freshwater resources, disruption of the water cycle, armed conflict): in 2007, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the conflict in Darfur (Sudan region) as the "first armed conflict linked to climate change". Water scarcity and changes in the rainfall cycle have contributed to fuelling this conflict. ("the world's first climate change conflict.") The conflict in Sudan has been marked by a particularly high number of civilian casualties, particularly through the poisoning of wells[2].


It is also multidimensional here (drought, armed conflict, agricultural yield, fresh water resources, climate refugees): the civil war in Syria has been aggravated by the multiple droughts of the last 5 years. Climate models suggest that the severity of the drought is at least partially caused by climate change[3].

The decisions of previous governments, corruption, mismanagement of natural resources and drought have destroyed the living conditions of Syrians. Particularly through the issue of access to water, because for several consecutive years between 2006 and 2011, disastrous harvests have affected between 2 and 3 million farmers, endangering the food security of one million people through reduced access to wheat, barley and meat. In addition, Syria itself had already hosted refugees from Iraq in the same period. These events have led to almost 1.5 million Syrians having to leave their country.


The situation in Mali is influenced by the links between armed conflict and drought[4].

Mali has been experiencing droughts since the 1960s. At the same time, nomadic Tuaregs have turned into mercenaries to form an alliance with Libyan President Gaddafi.

The particularly severe drought of 2009 was an aggravating factor in the country's high food and economic instability. Three years later, a rebellion led by the Tuaregs broke out. The latter organised a coup d'état against the Malian government, allowing the Jihadists to take power and at the same time leading to the intervention of the French army, notably because of the various links between the Jihadists of the Islamic state and Boko Haram.

Analysis of the link between climate change and armed conflict

Compiling historical data on sub-Saharan conflicts and variations in rainfall, there has been a substantial increase in armed conflicts during warmer years. For example, a 1% increase in temperature leads to a 4.5% increase in the number of civil wars in the same year[5]. By 2030, according to the study of average data from the 18 climate models used, this will result in a 54% increase in armed conflicts in the region. A compilation of several studies shows that over the last 100 years global warming has been an aggravating factor in armed conflicts in a range between 3% and 20% of cases[6].

In a multi-factorial analysis of the causes of armed conflicts to date, under a +2°C scenario, the study estimates that the number of armed conflicts would be twice as high; under a +4°C scenario, it would be 5 times higher[7].

The increase in the frequency of famines is strongly linked to the increase in the frequency of wars[8].

Between 1950 and 2001 it is estimated that civil wars were twice as likely to occur in the years corresponding to El Nino compared to the cooler years of La Nina. El Nino could have contributed to 21% of the conflicts during this period[9].