A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

START researchers present on the impact of climate change on terrorism

Earlier this month, START researchers spoke on climate change and terrorism at the annual International Forum of Terrorism Risk (Re)Insurance (IFTRIP) virtual conference, which is the largest industry conference for the terrorism insurance industry, as well as the Security Industry Association (SIA) GovSummit.

At the IFTRIP ReCode Livestream, START Director William Braniff appeared on a panel titled “Climate Change: Fueling Terror and Extremism,” while Geospatial Research Unit (GRU) Researcher Samuel Henkin provided a recorded presentation on the findings from his project “A Climate of Terror: Approaches to the Study of Climate Change and Terrorism.” At the SIA GovSummit, Henkin also presented on anticipating future risks in terms of climate change and security.

In his presentation for IFTRIP, Henkin explored the background and findings on his project, which is an initial scoping study intended to map the state of present knowledge on the interactions between climate change and terrorism.

“Climate change impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage as multiple climate hazards occur simultaneously,” Henkin said. “In a world of growing political instability, this is highly relevant to terrorism.”

Henkin noted that there is a growing acknowledgement within the national security field that climate change acts as a threat multiplier, which has the potential to exacerbate existing social, political and economic tensions, aggravating societal vulnerabilities, and compounding risk, including the risk of conflict.

“Data indicates that terrorism is increasingly more concentrated in regions and countries suffering from political instability and conflict,” Henkin said. “While regional terrorism trends continue to vary subnationally, this trend has global implications.”

Henkin went on to say that the risks stemming from climate change and terrorism can in part be mitigated by partnerships between the public and private sectors.

“As experts in risk management, the terrorism (re)insurance industry is essential in filling knowledge gaps and pursuing evidence in foreign policies and practices that are risk-based and anticipatory, to manage the potential impacts of climate catastrophes and climate-related risks on terrorism,” Henkin said.

Henkin explained that this project is an introductory scoping study of a broader research effort at START, supported by UK-based insurance company Pool Re Solutions, that explores potential interactions between climate change and terrorism.

“Scientific understanding of climate change has improved dramatically over time. However, understanding how climate change interacts with human security and other systemic risks like terrorism has lagged behind,” Henkin said. “Strength in partnerships between the research community and relevant stakeholders, like the one between Pool Re Solutions and START, could substantially improve limited understanding of the important research questions at the intersection of climate change and terrorism.”

Those interested can read the overview of the climate change and terrorism project findings at this link.


The International Forum of Terrorism Risk (Re)Insurance Pools (IFTRIP) represents the world’s largest gathering of international terrorism reinsurance pools, (re)insurers, public agencies, academics and risk and security professionals.

IFTRIP is the only forum of its kind in the world and as such acts as a primary international platform to share information, expertise and experiences to help combat the threat of potential major economic loss resulting from terrorism.

For more information, visit https://iftrip.org/

About Pool Re

Pool Re is the insurance industry’s mutual for insuring terrorism risk in Great Britain. It was established in 1993 by the UK Government in response to the untenable losses and uncertainty caused by the Provisional IRA’s devastating bombings in financial centres in London and Manchester during The Troubles. As a result of the attacks, insurance cover was withdrawn for commercial property, meaning that the economy, industry, and the taxpayer were highly vulnerable to the effects of future attacks.

Pool Re exists to correct market failure, protect the UK economy, and safeguard society and livelihoods from acts of terrorism. They offer a financial safety net for around £2.2 trillion of assets and businesses of all sizes, from shopping centres and local traders to airports and power grids, across sectors of the economy such as real estate, retail, transport, construction and energy.

For more information, visit www.poolre.co.uk

About SIA

The Security Industry Association (SIA) is the leading trade association for global security solution providers, with over 1,200 innovative member companies representing thousands of security leaders and experts who shape the future of the security industry.

For more information, visit www.securityindustry.org/