Lagos to Mombasa: How Does Climate Impact Conflict?

Is there a relationship between climate change and conflict?

In this episode of Lagos to Mombasa, Gyude speaks to Dr. Edward (Ted) Miguel, professor of economics at University of California Berkley, about the impact of rising temperatures, extreme droughts, and floods on competition for resources, and how governments can respond to climate change’s compounding impact in fragile regions.

Dr. Miguel also highlights environmental trends over the past 40 years and breaks down patterns of local and national conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. 

"When there are the kind of economic and social changes that are caused by climate, it can also have a real effect on social stability and political stability," Dr. Miguel says in the podcast. "When people's crops fail, when there is a drought and they don't have enough to eat, that may change how they think about their political leaders. It may change how desperate they are in terms of their own actions and their own behaviors... and in societies where resources are limited, all those stresses caused by climate change can then translate into big political changes."

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.