Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Thursday 9 July - 15:00-16:30 UPMC Jussieu - Amphi 34

3340 - Conflict and Climate Change

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): A. Robock (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States of America)

15:00

Climate Change: Adding Fuel to The Fire of Iran's Inter-provincial Water Conflicts?

H. Najafi (University of Tehran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)

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Climate Change: Adding Fuel to The Fire of Iran's Inter-provincial Water Conflicts?

H. Najafi (1)
(1) University of Tehran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

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Results recently found in the Iranian third national report on climate change reveal there is evidence that several parts of the country are likely to face hotter and drier climate in the future. Nevertheless, climate impact studies still have not been incorporated into decision making processes not only in the most recent national comprehensive water plan but also as a compulsory analysis of any development schemes at the implementation phase. This paper aims at highlighting the imperative role of climate change impact assessments studies on regional conflicts over shared water resources in Iran. Two of the most important river basins at the western part of Iran are illustrated, Lake Urmia and Karkheh. The former is shared between three provinces where the latter is shared between seven riparian ones. Lake Urmia has suffered serious environmental challenges in recent years. Thirteen main rivers flowing into the lake are all experiencing decreasing surface runoffs in recent fifteen years ranging from 26 to 70 percent compared to their long term average of 1969-1999. Likewise, changes in potential renewable water resources have dropped by one forth in Karkheh river basin attributing to several factors including decreasing trend of precipitation as well as increasing infiltration and overuse of water consumption. With the observed trends in decreasing streamflow, policymakers have seriously attempted to attribute the contribution of each of the climate variability and change as well as basin-wide water consumptions. In retrospect, aggressive development projects threating sustainability of resources should have been avoided. Meanwhile, recent impact studies over the two river basins have suggested that climate change is expected to aggravate available water resources challenges under some projections of the IPCC’s AR4 emissions scenarios. Surprisingly enough, the competition over exhausting water resources is likely to turn out to be the Tragedy of the commons under compounded impacts of climate change and mismanagement measures leading to conflicts arising when available resources are diminished.

Each of the so called inter-provincial basins are managed by regional (provincial) water companies. The paper suggests that in addition to the past mismanagements which have been found as a driving force of current inter-provincial conflicts, increasing temperature together with a decrease in mean annual rainfall and runoff in the face of climate change inevitably intensifies competition over the limited available resources. When surface water is not available then other sources will be sought after such as groundwater. Consequently, conflicts begin over the use and ownership of water in many settings. From 1974 to 2012, an average of 27 MCM of decrease per year in groundwater volume occurred in twelve aquifers adjacent to the Lake Urmia. In the view of this situation, neglecting to consider climate change projections is likely to expose natural systems to serious damage, even potentially irreversible in many unsustainable ecosystems such as Lake Urmia and Hoor-Al-Azim marshland at the outlet of the Karkheh river basin. Considering the high vulnerability of water resources systems, agriculture, and energy sectors together with fragile socio-economic features, conflicts over these common pool resources, will probably be unavoidable. Ultimately, understanding the effects of current development plans and climatic changes on the status of the mentioned sectors can help taking timely actions to alleviate probable conflicts. Given such a scenario, there have recently been progressive attempts in the Iranian Ministry of Energy (MOE), the main organization responsible for water resources planning and management to launch a specialized working group to address climatic change related predicaments. However, this paper argues that there are some main stumbling blocks still remained untouched on the subject. Implementation of integrated river basin management, developing climate risk frameworks based on integrating Top-down and Bottom-up approaches, thorough uncertainty analysis in addition to hedging between adaptation strategies and mitigation must be performed circumventing such a situation.  At the end, the paper suggests that climate change is likely to add salt to the wound of the current challenges from a multi-sectoral point of view and that comprehensive assessment of the impacts of climate change on water bodies followed by conflict resolution provides alerting symptoms for future decision making processes and further action plans.

15:15

Climate-related disasters and armed conflict outbreaks- Evidence for significant co-incidences from the observational record

J. Donges, (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany), R. Donner, (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany), C.-F. Schleussner (Climate Analytics, Berlin, Germany)

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Climate-related disasters and armed conflict outbreaks- Evidence for significant co-incidences from the observational record

J. Donges, (1) ; R. Donner, (2) ; CF. Schleussner (3)
(1) Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Earth System Analysis, Potsdam, Germany; (2) Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany; (3) Climate Analytics, Berlin, Germany

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Armed conflicts are the result of a highly context-specific mixture of a variety of socio-economic factors and their multiple causality structure, which renders the attribution of armed conflicts to single factors a practically impossible task. Nonetheless, there is great interest in empirical evidence if and how much changes in potentially determining factors, in particular such related to climate change, alter the risk of conflict outbreaks at the global scale. Whether or not climate change is already contributing to armed conflict outbreaks and conflict risk is very controversial, in particular since the numerous interactions between climate change and socio-economic factors are difficult to capture by standard statistical methods.

Here we address this question regarding the specific case of climate-related extreme economic damage events. We present a comprehensive analysis of the co-occurrence between such events and conflict outbreaks for the period 1980–2011. While there is no significant statistical relationship between extreme damage events and the outbreak of armed conflicts at the global scale, for subsets of particularly conflict-prone countries of up to 10% or more of all conflict outbreaks robustly coincide with climate-related extreme economic damage events.

Our analysis reveals that climate-related extreme damage events, while not directly causing armed conflicts, can indeed significantly contribute to conflict risk in environmentally vulnerable and conflict-prone regions and possibly trigger the timing of conflict outbreaks. Given the still high number of countries at risk and the observed and projected increase in severe climate extremes, this relation represents a serious risk to societies globally.

15:30

Climate change induced migration and conflicts in Nigeria

O. Ovuyovwiroye (University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, Federal Republic of)

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Climate change induced migration and conflicts in Nigeria

O. Ovuyovwiroye (1)
(1) University of Benin, Geography and Regional Planning, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, Federal Republic of

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The challenges associated with climate change have started threatening the common future of the world inhabitants. While the challenge of some localities is associated with too much water, other areas are faced with the problem of too little water available for use. Nigeria is being threatened by these two climate change challenges and each of these scenarios will result to forced migration. While the southern part of Nigeria is experiencing coastal inundation due to sea level rise, the north is being afflicted with the burden of desertification. These combined forces of climate change impact in Nigeria, prompted this study that investigated the impact of climate change on migration and possible conflicts in Nigeria. Climatic data (air temperature, rainfall amount and rainy days) for 60 years (1955 -2014) from 30 synoptic stations in Nigeria were analysed to evaluate the possible signals of climate change. With the aid of Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques, the vulnerable areas due to coastal inundation and desertification were modelled, population affected was determined and the ecological zones that will absorb the potential migrants and the expected conflicts due to such migration were analysed. The GIS technique was also used to construct the isohyets and isotherms so as to analyse the changes in climatic patterns. Time series analysis was employed for the climatic trends. 600 copies of a questionnaire were administered in six states (three in the coastal area and three in the semi-arid region) randomly selected to solicit information on the level of vulnerability, impacts and local adaptation strategies to climate change and possible migration and conflicts. These were analysed using different statistical and cartographic techniques. The results show rising temperature of 1.92OC for the 60 years. Although decreasing rainfall amount and rainy days were observed, a slightly increasing rainfall amount was noticed in the coastal area in the past two decades. A gradual shift in reduced rainfall during the short-dry-season from August to July was noticed. Another observed pattern is the southward shift in the line dividing the double rainfall peaks, thus increasing the tropical continental climate area and decreasing equatorial climatic region. Moreover, while sea level rise of 1 metre will affect 5.4% of Nigeria’s landmass and 16% of the population, desertification will affect 38% of the landmass and 33% of the population. Both events may force about 49% of Nigerians from the coastal and semi-arid regions to the guinea savannah and the northern part of the forest ecological zones. This will result to scramble for arable land for farming, grazing and water resources, among others. Conflict between farmers and herdsmen is already on in Nigeria and this may intensify with increasing impact of climate change on natural resources (arable land, grasses and water). The conflicts between farmers and herdsmen have claimed 496 lives in the guinea savannah and the northern part of the forest ecological zones of Nigeria between 2013 and 2014.  Adaptation measures are recommended to reduce the impacts of climate change and also to minimize migration and the associated conflicts.

15:45

Sovereignty: The Unfocused Era of ‘loss and damage' at Climate Summit

A. Naznin (Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia)

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Sovereignty: The Unfocused Era of ‘loss and damage' at Climate Summit

A. Naznin (1)
(1) Australian National University, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Canberra, ACT, Australia

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One of the major decisions of COP19 is a new “Warsaw International Mechanism will be created to provide help for poorer countries hit by extreme weather events” for loss and damage issue under the Cancun Adaptation Framework-CAF. However beneath this major outcome there is a deep concern and state security associated which is yet, uncounted and overlooked. Slow onset events under loss and damage were identified as “sea level rise, glacial retreat and related impacts, salinization” etc., however, in the case of Bangladesh, “the discussion on sea level rise and salinization centred on approaches rather than needs” which indicates the uncertainty and lack of investigation and measurement in this area. The technical paper of CAF and Warsaw negotiation text both have missed the dilemma of state security while they are concentrated on ‘Vulnerable developing countries will be the hardest hit due to their low adaptive capacity’; ‘Slow onset events are already affecting developing countries and the resulting loss and damage’. The CAF and Warsaw agreement both have clearly missed the regional security aspect; for example, the economy of Bangladesh is poor than India which should mean that India has better adaptive capacity than Bangladesh. Since Bangladesh and India share borders, and economic opportunity is far better in India, there is potential that India will be severely affected from any emergency or slow onset climatic events in Bangladesh. This paper investigates potential geographical changes following mass migration flow brought by the loss and damages in reference to water stress in regional scale. Using high level policy interviews conducted in Bangladesh and comparing two census data of Bangladesh-India, this paper presents two tipping points which offers an important insight of the state security risk.

15:47

Panel discussion:

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Panel discussion:
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16:00

Nuclear War Impacts on Food Security

L. Xia (Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ, United States of America)

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Nuclear War Impacts on Food Security
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16:15

Nuclear War Impacts on Food Security

A. Robock (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States of America)

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Nuclear War Impacts on Food Security
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