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

A Climate of Terror? Climate Change as a Means for Terrorist Exploitation


Key Insights and Findings

  • VEOs may exploit individual and group grievances and insecurities exacerbated by climate change for recruitment into violent radicalization, including fostering radicalization narratives of marginalization, exclusion, and relative deprivation.
  • VEOs may exploit weakened (real and perceived) government capacity and legitimacy to respond to climate change by fostering radicalization narratives of alienation and abandonment. Furthermore, VEOs may attempt to fill in this gap by responding to the challenges posed by climate change to enhance their local authority and continue to undermine their opponents (generally the government).
  • VEOs may exploit the effects of climate change as a means to exert influence over populations by exercising strategic tactics (capture, sabotage, and/or looting) to cause physical and economic harm to infrastructure and services or choose to strategically control such resources. Specifically, VEOs can exploit the impacts of climate shocks to inflict maximal damage undermining political and socioeconomic structures to further their ideological objectives.
  • VEOs may exploit the impacts of climate change to influence populations by aggravating political and socioeconomic weaknesses to exert control over essential provisions and resources’ nodes and networks. Additionally, the profitability of controlling essential provisions and resources may lead to more VEOs strategically capturing resources and their markets fully, or partially, and weaponizing them to support operational functions.

View Publication

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Henkin, Samuel D. 2022. "A Climate of Terror? Climate Change as a Means for Terrorist Exploitation." College Park, MD: START (May). https://www.start.umd.edu/sites/default/files/publications/local_attachments/Climate_Change_Terrorism_Rapid_Review_3_FINAL.pdf

START Author(s):