Climate Change, Conflict, and Moving Borders

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  • Title: Climate Change, Conflict, and Moving Borders
  • Author(s): Kisei Tanaka
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Climate Change: Impacts and Responses
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses
  • Keywords: Borders, Climate Change, Conflict, Rivers, Glaciers, Seas, Exclusive Economic Zones
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2016
  • ISSN: 1835-7156 (Print)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1835-7156/CGP/v08i03/29-44
  • Citation: Lee, James, and Kisei Tanaka. 2016. "Climate Change, Conflict, and Moving Borders." The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses 8 (3): 29-44. doi:10.18848/1835-7156/CGP/v08i03/29-44.
  • Extent: 16 pages

Abstract

Can climate change accelerate conflict by increasing the rate of natural border change? A review of nine historical cases shows peaceful and hostile responses to such border movements. In every case, the dispute comes down to differences in measurement rules and their interpretation. An examination of likely climate forecasts suggests greater border conflict due to changes in rivers, glaciers, and seas. Because of the potential danger of conflict, states should agree on principles for dispute resolution regarding moving borders. There are clear indicators in the nine cases of instances where border changes are more and less likely to lead to conflict. These lessons are instructive for dealing with future challenges and developing a system of policy responses.