Climate Change, Conflict, and Moving Borders

By James Lee and Kisei Tanaka.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 28, 2016 Free Download

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.

Keywords: Borders, Climate Change, Conflict, Rivers, Glaciers, Seas, Exclusive Economic Zones

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 8, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.29-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 28, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 966.793KB)).

Dr. James Lee

Associate Director, Adjunct Faculty, Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning; and School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC, USA

Kisei Tanaka

Ph.D. Student, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA


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