Climate change and communal conflicts. A disaggregated study of Sub-Saharan Africa in 1989-2008.
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Does climate change lead to violent conflicts? This question worries world leaders, but research has not yet reached consensus on the topic. Inspired by theories of the Environmental Security School, many studies have been conducted on climate change and conflicts, in particular civil wars. However, this thesis argues that if climate change should lead to conflicts, a more likely outcome may be communal conflicts, on which there are only a few studies. To help fill this knowledge gap, this thesis investigates the relationship between climate change and communal conflicts in Sub-Saharan African in 1989-2008. It employs quantitative method and a disaggregated approach, using grid cells of 0.05˚ x 0.05˚ as units of analysis. Additionally to a regular large-N analysis, this thesis also analyzes climate change and communal conflict in a most likely scenario. Arguably, if climate change and conflicts are related, a relationship should be found where the circumstances for communal conflict, the most likely type of conflict to occur, are most favorable. Yet, this thesis finds no relationship between climate change and communal conflicts. Measured as changes in temperatures and rainfall, climate is not found to explain communal conflict events, not even in the most likely scenario. These results run contradictory to the few other studies which have been conducted on climate change and communal conflicts in Africa.