Research methodologies

Social science resources

Policy alternatives

Conflict futures

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Conflict futures

The precautionary principle applied to conflict prevention and recovery mandates assessment and action on vulnerabilities before conflicts become manifest and intractable. While debates over their significance continues, mounting evidence suggests increasing conflict vulnerabilities may result from climate change, environmental resource scarcities, and other events. This page (under construction) will document such evidence as it emerges, particularly as it concerns Indonesia.


Predicting future conflict

See Methodologies Page: Early Warning, Conflict Prevention and Conflict Assessment


Abrupt climate change

Island states are especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming, which affect them through rising sea levels and increasing variability in climate and rainfall. According to some scenarios, abrupt climate change could, in coming years and decades, increase significantly levels of conflict, migration, and poverty, reversing years of development progress. The reports look at plausible and less plausible scenarios with predictably moderate to severe repercussions on economic and social systems in the not-so-distant future, thus the probabilities and recommendations they offer should be factored into the decisions policymakers make today.

National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (CNA Corporation, 16 April 2007, pdf1.33mb)

An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security (a report prepared by Global Business Network for the US Dept of Defense, October 2003)

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Abrupt Climate Change

Investment Implications of an Abrupt Climate Change (Sprott Asset Mgt) [local]

An Uncertain Future: Law Enforcement, National Security and Climate Change (Oxford Research Group, Jan 2008) [local]

Climate of Change: The Links Between Climate, Peace and War (International Alert, Nov 2007, pdf2mb)

UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Climate Change 2007 Summary for Policymakers: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Mitigation of Climate Change Physical Science Basis (report)]

George Monbiot on the politics of climate change science (10 April 2007)

Rebuttle to claims of climate change skeptics (academic article)

UNDP Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fighting Climate Change

Climate Change Will 'Seriously Harm RI' (Jakarta Post, 24 May 2006)

Climate Change Could Submerge Coastal Communities in Indonesia (report soon available)

Indonesia and Climate Change (PEACE, Executive Summary)

Global Warming Early Warning Signs



Environmental resource scarcities

Considerable controversy exists over the links between environment, resources, and conflict. A prominent school of thought, led by Thomas F. Homer-Dixon, sees population growth and resource scarcity increasingly fueling conflict. A number of its studies may be accessed here. Indonesia is among the case studies this Project on Environmental Scarcities, State Capacity and Civil Violence has conducted.

Charles Victor Barber: The Case Study of Indonesia

Opposition to the position taken by this school has come from social scientists, particularly from the school of political ecology, which stresses the role of politics and political economy in the response to environmental perturbations. Some differences are outlined here.

Biofuel production represents an emerging environmental issue, seen by some as a panacea for the energy crisis, by others a bane for the environment. Most policy makers in the West see biofuels as at least a temporary solution while technologies are being developed to deal with long term energy needs. The decision to commit land and resources to the development of biofuels is a particularly controversial one in Indonesia, where palm oil, jathropa (castor oil plant) and other biofuel plantations are expanding to meet expected demand. As Indonesia is on the verge of becoming the world's number one palm oil producer, it is important that the short- and long-term costs of its production do not outweigh the benefits. Among the potential downsides of biofuel production that require urgent consideration:

Deforestation (Indonesia tops Guinness Book of World Records);

Threats to indigenous populations;

Land conversion and threats to biodiversity (including orangutans);

Food price inflation (biofuels take toll on Indonesian cusine) (impact on food aid);

Increasing biofuel production and its impacts on markets and poverty (still unclear)

Big profits not going to smallholders and workers

Doubts over the energetic cost benefits of biofuels (interview with biofuel skeptic here)

Internal World Bank report: Biofuels caused the food crisis (Guardian, 4 July 2008)

The Golden Crop? Palm Oil in Post-Tsunami Aceh (Eye on Aceh, Sep 2007, pdf913kb) [Bahasa, pdf577kb]



Present solutions for sustainable futures?

Will be added below what might point in the right direction (to be confirmed):

Sign the Live Earth Pledge

Global Warming Solutions (climatehotmap.org)

Global Sustainable Investing - The Next Stage in the Evolution of Socially Responsible Investing

Socially Responsible Investing Links