"Climate variability and human conflict" by Prof Mark Cane

Past Event

11 June 2014, 1:15pm - 2:45pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This lecture is hosted by the Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship

Speaker: Professor Mark A. Cane, G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences,Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

Summary: Why do men fight? Have changes in climate been an important influence in the past? Will they be in the future?

Anthropologists and historians have a rich store of anecdotal evidence, but since this evidence relies heavily on simple co-occurrence it invites skepticism. A recent, contrasting approach applies quantitative methods to investigate the connection between climate and conflict. This discourse in this sub-field is fittingly cantankerous. Whereas historians often have plausible stories explaining the causal links from climate to conflict, the quants rarely offer more than a statistical relation.

Mark will discuss his own work on two topics: El Niño and global incidence of civil conflict, and the impact of anthropogenic climate change on the civil war in Syria.