Dampening effects of food importation on climate change-induced conflict in Africa
Loden, Anthony S.
van der Vink, Gregory
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As the scientific community speaks in unison regarding mankind's role in climate change, the rhetoric over the potential security implications of a changing climate is much less coherent. This thesis investigates whether a country's dependence on foreign food imports and food aid alters the relationship between deviations in normal rainfall patterns and conflict in Africa. The results of this study indicate that (i) deviations in both previous year and contemporaneous rainfall significantly impact cereal supplies with previous year rainfall exhibiting a stronger correlative effect; (ii) countries that depend more heavily on cereal foods sourced from outside their borders display a lower risk of civil conflict during wetter than normal years and non-government-targeted social conflict during anomalously wet and dry years when compared to countries that produce the majority of their cereal supplies domestically; and (iii) the risk of violent, nonviolent, and government-targeted social conflict is greater following significant fluctuations in rainfall for the those countries that grow the majority of their own cereal. These findings suggest that mitigation strategies focused on improving water management, developing more efficient and stable import practices, and diversifying a country's food sourcing options may reduce the impact of climate change–induced conflict.
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