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Global Warming, Heatwave Heighten Conflicts In Multi-Ethnic Countries, Study Says

First Posted: Jul 27, 2016 04:10 AM EDT

Weather disasters cause vulnerability to multi-ethnic nations. Scientists said on July 25, Monday that heatwaves and drought trends worsened by global warming somehow ignite conflicts.

In multi-ethnic nations, an outbreak of 23 percent armed conflicts since 1980 occurred during the same months of extreme weather disasters. Study showed that these countries include Afghanistan and Somalia. Moreover, nine percent of these worldwide conflicts during the same period overlapped with weather disasters.

The weather disaster study also suggests that nations with existing fault lines in ethnic groups are extremely vulnerable to weather disasters. Researchers of the study wrote in the U.S. Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, that their results imply that weather disasters act as a threat multiplier in the world's most conflicted regions.

The study said that cuts in greenhouse gas emissions or measures to drought resistant crops can help in limiting global warming and weather disasters from occurring, Carbon Brief reported. People living in Africa and central Asia's weather disaster risks could also be reduced with such methods.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, one of the authors and head of Climate Impact Research in Potsdam Institute wrote that their study gives evidence of a special co-benefit of climate stabilization and peace, Pik-Potsdam reported.  

University of Hamburg staff Juergen Scheffran, on the other hand, reviewed the study of PNAS and welcomed it by stating that it is a step in understanding the complex relationship between conflict and weather disasters. However, other researchers are concerned that by linking weather disasters and conflict is difficult. They say that it is difficult to isolate weather disasters from other factors like social injustice and poverty.

Many researchers are wary of linking climate change and conflict, saying it is hard to isolate warming from factors such as poverty, sectarian divides or social injustice. A panel of United Nations scientists during 2013 said that climate change may indirectly increase violent conflicts. They also stated that weather disasters can amplify conflicts arising from economy and poverty.

Weather disasters and climate change by greenhouse gases was doubted by U.S. Republicans. They say that the conclusion of the study instills fear instead of public safety to push an unrelated climate agenda.

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