Learn more about our work on climate and conflict.
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Climate and conflict


The linkages between climate change and conflict are becoming increasingly apparent as environmental stressors exacerbate existing tensions and create new challenges. While 2023 was the hottest year on record, this year has already witnessed heatwaves in the Middle East and South Asia, devastating floods in South America and East Africa, and unprecedented wildfires in North America. By disrupting livelihoods, particularly in regions heavily dependent on agriculture and natural resources, compounding resource competition, and displacing communities, these extreme weather events undermine stability and development. Concurrently, conflict impedes the ability of states and communities to effectively mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, potentially creating a cycle of natural disaster and conflict.

Many countries where the Berghof Foundation operates are situated in regions suffering from this climate-conflict double vulnerability. In recent years, we have therefore expanded our efforts to understand and address these complex dynamics. Working closely with states, communities, and partners across the humanitarian, peace, and development sectors, we foster dialogue and cooperation, promote sustainable resource management, and support climate action and resilience-building strategies.

Take a look at our work on the topic.

The Burning Question: Climate and conflict – why does it matter?

Last week, we launched the online version of our Executive Director Andrew Gilmour’s latest book The Burning Question: Climate and conflict – why does it matter? In his book, Andrew Gilmour explores how climate change contributes to conflict and undermines prospects for peace. He also examines how we can ensure that our efforts to address the climate crisis advance sustainable peace.

Building on his thorough understanding of global conflicts and drawing on a wealth of real-life examples, he addresses a wide range of political and practical issues and their cascading effects on human and national security in a refreshing and accessible manner.

Find out more and download the book here.


Book reviews

"Gilmour’s elegantly written book is necessary, timely and important. It’s a call to action for anyone who cares about the future of the human race." – NEIL MACKAY, The Herald

“The Burning Question: Climate and Conflict – Why Does it Matter? [is] a thought-provoking book on the links between global warming and war.” – HUGO DIXON, Reuters Breakingviews

“Andrew Gilmour does not just explain the problems, but also navigates ways of dealing with them, drawing on a long and distinguished career that has given him invaluable experience, authority and insight. As the author makes so clear, the best place to start with a changing world is to understand it. In parts sobering but also optimistic, The Burning Question does what all good books do: it makes you think. This is an important and timely book that sets out the existential risks that do not just lie ahead of us, but are already here.” – PETER FRANKOPAN, Author of The Silk Roads and The Earth Transformed

Despite thinking I understood the topic of this book already, I learned so much from this beautiful piece of work. Andrew Gilmour is right: as wars rage around us, it’s essential both to take action against climate change and to do so in ways that reduce rather than risk further conflict. His call to action comes from a searing analysis of how climate justice and political conflict interact. The warning is clear, as are the lessons on what works and what does not. The book succeeds in showing us why climate change has to be a collective effort from this day forward.” – MONICA MCWILLIAMS, Author of Stand Up, Speak Out

“In this important and timely book, Andrew Gilmour explains how climate change contributes to the intensification of social and political conflict across the world. With a wealth of examples from across the Global South, he documents the unequal burden borne by women in conditions of social strife and/or resource scarcity. He explores the role of public policy, community action, restoration ecology, and technological innovation in mitigating conflicts caused by climate change – always with the aim of helping the poorest and most vulnerable. Andrew Gilmour provides a fresh, and complementary, perspective, with his analysis of climate change conflicts, their origins, articulations, and possible resolutions. His is an admirable effort at what he aptly terms ‘environmental peacebuilding.’ His book deserves to be widely read.” – RAMACHANDRA GUHA, Biographer of Gandhi and author of Environmentalism: A Global History


In the media

  • “Climate change and conflict must be tackled together” (The Economist)
  • “The world is facing a “triple nexus”, where climate change feeds conflict and then drives migration” (Reuters)
  • “Climate change and conflict are coming together in new ways that we are only beginning to understand” (The Scotsman)
  • “The threat of climate change is in every aspect of life” - Interview with Hannah Murray (Radio Free Europe)
  • “Climate Policy is about war and peace” (Die Welt)
  • “It’s the countries “which have contributed least to emissions that suffer the most” from the effects of climate change and conflict” (The Herald)


Online event: Climate and peace in the Middle East

On 25 June 2024, we explored the intersection of climate action and peacebuilding in the Middle East with leading experts at our virtual panel discussion. Natasha Hall, Hassan Janabi, Jay Collins and Andrew Gilmour shared their perspectives on the parameters for climate mitigation and adaptation policies that simultaneously contribute to peace and stability.

You can watch the event recording here.


Climate compass: Navigating mediation challenges in a warming world

The climate crisis and its implications for peace and security present a growing challenge for the field of mediation. As global average temperatures surge, mediators will increasingly be called upon to help defuse tensions over both the effects and the drivers of climate change.

Read our climate expert Thomas Ritzer's recommendations on how to integrate climate awareness into peacebuilding in his latest guide to climate-smart mediation.


Additional highlights from our work on climate and conflict
Read our feature on "Tackling environmental degradation together" in Zimbabwe where local mediators analysed the relationship between climate change and conflicts in their regions at a workshop that we co-hosted with Africa University in Harare.
During our event on "Providing remedies for climate harms", we discussed the challenges and opportunities of providing remedies for the loss and damage that climate change is causing.Take a look at our feature on "How can the harms caused by climate change be addressed?"

In her blog post "From silent victim to bridgebuilder: The potential of environmental peacebuilding in Ukraine", our colleague Mariia Levchenko shares insights how environmental rehabilitation can go hand in hand with social cohesion programmes in Ukraine.



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