Global energy and environment conflicts; facts and consequences

We need to do more to understand how climate change and conflict are linked. Here's why
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Abstract Environmental conflicts have emerged as key issues challenging local, regional, national and global security. The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes ACCORD also argues in a similar vein that conflict is: …a state of human interaction where there is disharmony or a perceived divergence of interests, needs or goals. People and the environment Daily , cited in Le Maitre et al. Production of goods: food, durable materials and industrial products, genetic resources and pharmaceuticals. Life-fulfilling functions: aesthetic beauty, serenity, scientific discovery and preservation of options for the future.

Environmental conflicts Several authors Castro and Nielson ; Yasmi et al. Numerous types of environmental conflicts are identified in the literature and include: Biodiversity conflicts : conflicts between people about wildlife or other aspects of biodiversity White et al. This also includes conflicts relating to conservation of protected areas, green technologies as well as fair trade and patenting rights in relation to biodiversity and indigenous knowledge linked to natural resources. These conflicts can occur internationally and have serious regulatory and policy implications.

Impacts on the natural resource base in terms of land clearing for development and agricultural production as well as the effects of genetically modified crops on biodiversity are important considerations as well. There is evidence to suggest that if conservation and environmental management policies are not formulated and implemented in a holistic way to balance the needs and interests of conservation and people, it can lead to conflict. Linked to biodiversity conflicts are natural resource management NRM conflicts. However, what is important to underscore is that conflicts over environmental resources can result in violent conflicts and this can transcend nation-state boundaries. In this issue, Ahmed considers such conflicts in particular and highlights that coastal areas are unique in the dynamics they produce around environmental conflicts.

This has to do with high development demands, high population density, environmental degradation and importantly, poor and disjointed management to balance conservation and development. The author highlights two types of coastal zone conflicts — those related to ecosystem change and those related to coastal development.

Conflicts disproportionately affecting women : Women are often vulnerable in the broader sense physically, economically, socially and politically and therefore often carry a disproportionate brunt of the effects of environmental conflicts and stress. A number of authors in this issue highlight this point. Omolo found that women in pastoral communities in Kenya are made vulnerable through cattle raids, which are often the result of droughts.

Bob also highlights that apartheid-induced land scarcity has led to women being abandoned, experiencing violence and widows being dispossessed of land. Conflicts about air quality and noxious pollutants : This is a key type of environmental conflict — prominent in the literature and in this issue see Jaggernath — that relates to issues pertaining to social justice and the right to live in a healthy environment.

Mix and Shriver focus on local resident perceptions and concerns. It is important to note that these studies also highlight divergent perceptions over environmental threats, which are important in terms of managing these conflicts. Furthermore, an important theme is environmental racism and the links between poverty and vulnerability. While most conflicts relate to demonstrations and legal disputes as local residents and environmental activists mobilise communities to assert their rights, there are also incidences of violent conflicts.

Environmental conflicts associated with air quality issues, such as in the case of the South Durban Basin SDB in South Africa, often also receive considerable media attention. Other key types of conflicts include land and water conflicts, which are discussed below. Land conflicts Globally, but particularly in Africa, a significant proportion of people is dependent on land to make a living. Water conflicts Klare , cited in Gleditsch et al. Climate change and environmental conflicts It is now widely recognised that climate change is having and will have significant impacts on social, economic and ecological systems and processes as socio-economic inequalities widen locally as well as globally Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Managing environmental conflicts Environmentally related conflicts are linked to political, economic, social and ecological contexts.

Recommendations Information management and knowledge production is an important component of conflict management. Considering and specifying what types of violence are likely to result from climate change. This will require conflict monitoring. Balancing the positive and negative effects of climate change as well as the effects of various strategies of adaptation.

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Klare , cited in Gleditsch et al. September ties as the hottest month on record globally. New Jersey officials say new testing shows the water filters are working amid lead contamination struggles. It is again poor populations in low latitudes that are affected most heavily. In this issue, the role that vulnerability plays in conflicts is emphasised by a number of the authors. Gavin Newsom: Trump administration 'threatening' private business. For the Mediterranean, the Horizon initiative k supports the riparian countries in addressing the priority issues of dealing with industrial emissions, municipal waste and wastewater treatment to reduce pollution of the Mediterranean.

Continuing to disaggregate the effects of climate change in systematic conflict models in relation to geographical variations and types of change to ascertain differing outcomes. Focusing on national security issues in both developing and developed countries.

The construction of security scenarios is also advocated. Conclusion Environmental conflicts take on different forms and have multiple and varying impacts in different contexts. Transforming conflict.


Ahmed, F. Development pressures and management constraints in the coastal zone. Alternation , 15 1 , pp. African Journal on Conflict Resolution , 10 2 , pp. Ashton, P. Patrick, H. MacKay and A.

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Introduction: Nature and people. Land-related conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Swart, B. Maharaj and P. Louw Castro, A. Nielson Natural resource conflict management case studies: An analysis of power, participation and protected areas. Gerber, J-F. Veuthey and J. Linking political ecology with ecological economic in tree plantation conflicts in Cameroon and Ecuador. Ecological Economics , 68, pp.

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