There have been many recent claims that “climate change” was the reason for conflicts, with also the war in Syria explained by the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission. However, this is not settled science, as this claim is wrong.
There have been, and there are, conflicts for other very well-known reasons. The causes of wars are many and varied, and much more complicated. From past to recent wars, the global warming explanation simply does not compute.
The world has experienced many wars. World War II, the Mongol conquests, the Qing conquest of the Ming, the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Taiping Rebellion, the An Lushan Rebellion, the Germanic Wars, World War I, the Conquests of Timur, the Dungan Revolt, the Chinese Civil War, the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, the Reconquista, the Russian Civil War, the Thirty Years’ War, the Ottoman wars in Europe, the Napoleonic Wars, the war in Afghanistan, the Vietnam war and the Iraqi war, just to name a few. All these wars did not start because of “global warming” but for other reasons, as they did not end because of “global cooling”.
Recently, Adams, Ide, Barnett & Detges (2018), without calling “non-scientific” claims that are everything but scientific, simply uncovered several methodological problems with research related to assessing the propensity for war amid environmental changes due to “climate change”. The paper claimed that much of current research on the topic suffers from a multitude of flaws and bias. This paper then received an Editorial in Nature (Nature Editorial, 2018) of title “Don’t jump to conclusions about climate change and civil conflict” supporting some sort of “return-to-reason” also in works dealing with “climate change”. In the latest Nature of March 2018, however, three (3) correspondence letters have now been published, none of them addressing the real issue that wars have not been caused so far by “global warming”, but only harshly questioning the methodological problems raised by Adams, Ide, Barnett & Detges (2018), and, more than that, the “return-to-reason” promoted by the Editorial in Nature (Nature Editorial, 2018).
Gleick, Lewandowsky & Kelley (2018) label “a flawed oversimplification” the criticisms made in a review of the scientific and methodological challenges evaluating the links between climate change and human conflict by Adams, Ide, Barnett & Detges (2018).
For Butler & Kefford (2018), while “climate change” is not the “sole cause” of war, violence, unrest or migration, it is certainly a risk multiplier, influencer or co-factor. Environmental and ecological factors interact with social determinants, including those that are economic, demographic and political, to produce phenomena such as migration, conflict and famine. Hence, “climate change” is guilty.
Hsiang & Burke (2018), question the Editorial in Nature (Nature Editorial, 2018), that, according to them, “is based on an analysis that in our view provides no evidence for biased results”. They disagree with the Editorial recommendation that it is “undesirable” to study risk factors for populations with a high likelihood of conflict because it could “stigmatize” these regions as politically unstable, as such recommendations “could create bias in the literature by inhibiting research”.
The debate is therefore deviating from the proper track.
There has been so far, no real indication that warming temperatures are the reason for wars. These are only speculations based on very biased views of history, politics and the climate.