As one particularly distressing review recently pointed out, climate change has already exacerbated conflict around the world in a range of diverse settings.
From civil war intensity in sub-Saharan Africa to insurgency in India, there is a worryingly linear relationship between temperature and conflict. By 2100, temperature-induced stress could contribute towards an extra 22,000 murders, 180,000 rape cases, and 1.2 million aggravated assaults in the US alone.
There is also a clear link between the economic prowess of a region and its proclivity for conflict. Generally speaking, the wealthier a nation is, the less likely it is to engage in civil war. By the century’s end, it’s possible that the global GDP will have shrunk by nearly a quarter of its current value, which guarantees that poorer nations will become less stable over time.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for the US presidency, clearly acknowledges and accepts the science behind climate change, as well as the unfolding catastrophes it’s causing. “Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time,” a statement on her campaign website reads. “It threatens our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.”
Donald Trump, the Republican flag bearer, has a long track record of denying that climate change is even real, let alone it being a threat to national security. “I believe there’s weather,” he declared last year.
Whomever occupies this building from next January onwards has the power to act swiftly on climate change – if they so choose, that is. Sean Pavone/Shutterstock