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Institut Français d’Oslo Climate change: from ... Institut Français d’Oslo Climate change: from security concerns to defense issues Bastien ALEX Researcher at IRIS Tuesday September

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  • Institut Français d’Oslo

    Climate change: from security concerns

    to defense issues

    Bastien ALEX

    Researcher at IRIS

    Tuesday September the 3rd

  • Plan

     Preliminary remarks and reminders

    What are the links between climate

    change and security?

    Can we already observe them?

     It is a security issue, is that a defense


  • Preliminary remarks

     Climate change: two phenomenons

     Anthropogenic CC which make us enter the

    Anthropocene (with other disruptions like soil sealing,

    pollutions, dams, invasive species introduction, etc.

     Natural variations of earth climate (slower)

     Climate change is a doubly global issue

     Geographically speaking (GHG emissions recognize no


     In the literal sense: transversal problem (economy,

    energy, health, environment, transportation, and above

    all a political one that we need to negotiate

  • Climate change effects

    Temperature Rise

    Rising sea levels

    Changes in precipitation


    Increase in hurricanes

    and cyclones

    Melting ice caps and


    Ocean acidification

  • A horizon 2030 = +0,7°C en moyenne

  • I) Quelles sont les manifestations du changement

    climatique ?

  •  Mean 2100 : between 0,25 and 0,6 m (RCP2,6) and between 0,5 and 1 m (RCP8,5)

     Significant disparities according to the relief of the coasts (beach, cliff)According to climate scientist and geomorphologist, a one meter rise of the sea level on a one percent slope beach will provoke a 100 meters coastline retreat/reduction

  • Europe underwater with the

    melt of Artic ice

  • I. Climate change, security and conflicts Hypothesis and examples

  • Climate and security

  • Climate and security

  • Links between climate and

    security 1. Human Security

    a) Food and Water Security

    b) Migrations (livelihoods degradation)

    c) Health problems

    2. National, regional and international security

    a) Political use of population migrations or displacements

    b) Tensions on water resources

    c) Radicalization, terrorism and crime

    d) Habitability

    e) Tensions in newly reachable areas (Arctic)

    f) Energy security

    g) Tipping Points

    3. Climate policies associated risks

    a) Geoengineering

    b) Landgrabbing

    c) Maladaptation

    => Questionable because a crisis counts several drivers

  • Two African examples:

     Innerstate conflict:

    herders and farmers

    in the Sahel

     Interstate conflict:

    water sharing

    between Egypt and


  • The Sahel: a vulnerable area

  •  Location between the southern Saharan desert (20° N) and the more

    humid and coastal Sudano-Sahelian belt (between the 20th and

    12th North Parallel),

     very high climatic variability and irregular precipitation

     arid north (200 mm of precipitation per year),

     south tropical (600 mm) Rainfed agriculture needs at least 350 mm.

     Pastoralism is the main source of income in the North (ECOWAS-

    SWAC/OCDE, 2006).

     A small area of arable land is irrigated

     Two seasons dry season (September-May) and a short rain season


     Alternating dry and wet years since the droughts of the 1970s and

    1980s => huge interannual variability

    The Sahel: a vulnerable area

  •  T°C rise faster in the Sahel than the world average

     More pronounced inland (+4°C in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger) than on the coast (+3°C in Mauritania, Senegal).

     More visible on minimum temperatures than on maximums

     significant disparities between the Centre and East, more humid and the West where drought persists.

    Climatic Trends in the Sahel

  • Social & economic indicators


    2015 (millions)



    (% of total)


    ($/year/c ap.)

    Part of


    sector (% of GDP)



    2030/2050 (millions)

    Burkina Faso

    17,6 71 713,11 35 25,3 / 33,3

    Mali 12 60,1 706,66 40 25,3 / 34

    Mauritania 4 40,1 1274,93 20 5,4 / 6,7

    Niger 19 21,3 427,39 40 33,5 / 53,6

    Chad 13,6 77,5 1024,65 55 20,2 / 26,9

    Nigeria 177,5 52,2 3203,3 20

    246,6 / 313,3

    Côte d’Ivoire

    22,1 45,8 1546,96 20 30,3 / 40,6

    Senegal 14,7 56,3 1061,78 15 21,6 / 30,7

  • Conflicts between herders/pastoralists

    and farmers/peasants

    Old regional issue : pastoralists migration throught south

    (transhumance), meet the farmers

    human drivers are very important:

     land degradation caused by the passage of animals,

     Expansion of cultivated areas, construction of fences

     lack of updating/maintenance of transhumance corridors

     Bankruptcy of local authorities (non-existent state authorities,

    overwhelmed traditional authorities)

     Political choice of countries to support the development of one or other of the activities

  • Can climate change exacerbate

    those conflict dynamics? How?

    1. Declining water level

    « Lower water levels were partly caused by a decrease in rainfall during the 1970s and 1980s, which left large areas of the floodplain dry. The

    construction of the upstream hydropower dam at Se´lingue´ in 1982 also

    contributed to the declining water levels (Turner, 1992). As burgu grows

    on deeper water than rice, the declining water level led to a massive

    expansion of rice fields into burgu areas on the floodplain, which directly

    confronted farmers and herders and pushed out the latter and their

    livestock.» (Benjaminsen et al., Journal of Peace Research, 2012).

  • Can climate change exacerbate

    those conflict dynamics? How?

    2. Interannual rainfall fluctuations impacts on vegetation

    Biomass production trend between 1998 and 2016 in Sahel (% Average)

  • Herders and farmers

    conflicts in the Sahel Concluding remarks :

     These are hybrid issues, where climate and environmental changes play a role, but where risks depend greatly on the management policies implemented (or not).

     Uncertainties about the future:

     Forecasts predict a whole increase in interannual variability and therefore probable dry years in the northern Sahel

     Demographic growth

     Agricultural development in the South Sahel

     Early descent of herders

     Increase in the number of weapons in circulation

     State, administrations and chiefdoms unable to manage the increase in conflicts

     = DANGER

  • Example of maladaptation

  •  Great Ethiopian

    Renaissance Dam

    (GERD) underconstruction in

    Ethiopia on the Blue

    Nile (main tributary

    of the Nile (85% of

    the total water; 95%

    during the rain


    Water security: the Nile case

  • GERD in


     Biggest dam in Africa: 175m high, 1800 wide

     Project cost between 4 and 6 billion dollars

     6450 MW power generation capacity

     74 billion cubed meters reservoir

     required period of time for initial reservoir fillingestimated between 2 and 12 years !!

  • Water security: the Nile case

    The Nile is crucial for Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia. Historically, the Nile Basin is

    dominated by Egypt. The Dam construction begins in 2011, a very

    important year.

    On June the 3rd, 2013, a video of a meeting between Egyptian

    President Morsi and his generals revealed the army’s position on this


     some oppenly support destroying the dam

     others suggest bribing Ethiopian authorities

     or even to support separatist groups.

    Agreement concluded in March 2015: Egypt recognizes Ethiopia's right

    to build this dam on condition that it does not contravene its water


     January 2017: announcement of the reinforcement of electricity

    production capacity (increased to 6450 MW). Protests from Egypt

     March 2017: attack on the construction site by an Eritrean group

  • How is ti related to climate change?

    April 2017 : article in Nature Climate Change « the standard deviation describing interannual variability of total Nile flow could increase by 50% (±35%) “

    This is attributed to “the relatively large change in interannual variability of the Nile flow to projected increases in future occurrences of El Niño and La Niña events” increase of the flow during El Nino/ increase during la Nina.

    Authors coclude that “Adequacy of current water storage capacity and plans for additional storage capacity in the basin will need to be re-evaluated given the projected enhancement of interannual variability in the future flow of