There is a danger that some leaders will use the climate factor to legitimize their actions, exempt their responsibility and justify a conflict of political origin.

In July 2019, thePresident of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, ordered the Ministry of Armieshiring six science fiction writers and futurologists. Its purpose, “to imagine future conflict scenarios andpropose possible disruptive situations“that is, to predict the wars of the future.

And it is that other great illustrious of the letters already predicted warlike situations to come. Your compatriotJules Verne foreshadowed in the 19th century a change in the nature of conflicts. “With the submarine there will be no more naval battles and, as they will continue to invent increasingly sophisticated and terrifying instruments of war, war itself will be impossible,” said the author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Perhaps he was referring to terrifying instruments of war similar to those he describedBritish writer H. G. Wells in his novel The Liberated World, in which he predicted the launch of an atomic bomb 27 years before Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Climate wars

Other personalities on the political spectrum have not requested the advice of novelists to publicly express their opinion on the essence and causes of possible conflicts in the 21st century. In the late 1980s, the Egyptian Foreign Minister and, later,Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Butros GhaliHe noted that the next war in the Middle East would be triggered by the lack of a fundamental resource: water. A theory that promotes the idea of ​​conflicts caused by the consequences of climate change, and in its logic, ratifies the concept of climate wars.

One of the first to coin this term wassociologist and social psychologist Harald Welzerand he did it to baptize his book Climate Wars. In it, Welzer describes the Darfur conflict as the first climate war. Between 2003 and 2009, in this region located in southwestern Sudan, there were several clashes between nomadic groups and the sedentary tribes of the Furs over the pastures and the lands most irrigated by rain. A confrontation that was intensified by political interests and led the UN to accuse the Khartoum government of having participated in crimes on an international scale in the Darfur region.

De-politicize the conflict

Along these lines, and taking into account that climate change is surely the greatest challenge of the 21st century, some experts point out that the intensification of its effects may increase the risk of future armed conflicts. However, as this medium assures theresearcher at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs (CIDOB)and migration expert andclimate changein the Sahel region,Oriol Puig, “there is no academic consensus on the direct link between climate change and conflict”.

Puig points to the political factor as one of the main triggers of the conflicts. “We must set our sights on other agents, otherwise we miss a part of the puzzle and we can eventually depoliticize the situation,” he adds. In addition, Puig cautions that the speech thatattributes causes of conflict to climate change “may exempt some political leaders from liabilityThe expert stresses that climate change is a reality, but it is not yet clear how it will affect regions like the Sahel: “There is not enough scientific evidence around desertification in the entire region. In fact, there are climatological studies that point to an increase in rainfall and, therefore, more floods. “

In this way,the consequences of global warmingThey may exacerbate future conflicts, but they will remain political and not climatic.