Research on the security implications of climate change started in the mid-1990s and has by now become one of the most productive interdisciplinary activities in which political scientists cooperate closely with natural scientists, engineers, and economists. One major result so far is that claims by many policy-makers and also some scientists that climate change increases the risk of civil wars or even interstate wars rests on very shaky empirical foundations. Ongoing research suggests, however, that climate change may increase risks of (non-state) communal violence. While research on the climate change – security nexus is making good progress in collecting and analyzing data on the past, efforts are under way to also couple climate and hydrological models with political and economic models to understand risks that climate change may create for socio-economic wellbeing and conflict over the coming decades.
If you are interested in catching up on the state of the art in this research area: many of the most productive researchers in this area have recently met in Trondheim, Norway, at a conference organized by the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters and the Peace Research Institute Oslo. You will find the program and most of the papers here.