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

A Climate of Terror? Climate Change as an Indirect Contributor to Terrorism


Key Insights and Findings

  • While climate change may not be a direct ‘root cause’ of terrorism” it is recognized as a predominant destabilizing force that fosters an enabling environment for violent extremist organizations (VEOs).
  • When communities or individuals lack the capacity to adopt alternative livelihoods and are exposed to increasing climate insecurity, affected communities or individuals may resort to illegal and illicit activities to generate income or feel the pull of VEOs’ recruitment.
  • When regions are exposed to, or situated in, an environment susceptible to climate insecurities and are highly dependent on that environment for livelihoods, a positive correlational relationship between climate change and violence strengthens. This relationship may affect violent extremism as well and requires further analysis.
  • VEOs may exploit conflict and instabilities in receiving countries caused by migration and changes in mobility patterns due to diverse groups coming in contact with each other.
  • VEOs capitalize on community and individual grievances as a result of perceived or actual subjective deterioration furthering their ideological agendas.

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Publication Information

Full Citation:

Romm, Madeline. 2022. "A Climate of Terror? Climate Change as an Indirect Contributor to Terrorism." College Park, MD: START (May). https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/Climate_Change_Terrorism_Rapid_Review_1_FINAL.pdf

START Author(s):