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Tim Radford – Scientists link conflict and climate change

LONDON, 17 August, 2015 − Ethnic conflict linked to tragic episodes of civil war, waves of refugees and even the collapse of nation states could be made more likely by climate-related disasters.

A team of European scientists say they can demonstrate, “in a scientifically sound way”, a link between civil violence based on ethnic divisions, and episodes of drought, intense heat or other climate-linked weather extremes.

That climate change seems to be a factor in social collapse is now fairly firmly established. Researchers have identified evidence of prolonged drought that preceded the collapse of Assyrian and Bronze Age civilisations in prehistory.

And they have also made a connection between the worst drought in almost a thousand years in the Middle East and the continuing humanitarian tragedy of modern Syria.

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