Spring 2015

Climate Change and Civil Unrest

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-130


Eleonora Mattiacci (Section 01)


[G, SC] This class will address the relationship between two of the most compelling phenomena in world politics in the aftermath of the Cold War: civil war and climate change. Civil wars have far surpassed international conflict as the primary sources of battle-related deaths in the past decade, while anthropogenic climate change has long been debated as one of the major contemporary challenges. The class will be divided in two main parts. First, we will investigate the question of how climate change affects (or does not affect) the likelihood for civil insecurity, including riots, protests, and even civil conflict. Second, we will ask what has been done on the part of the international community to mitigate the effects of climate change on the likelihood of domestic conflict. The aim of the class is to shed a light on one of the key contradictions at the heart of the connection between climate change and civil unrest: while the challenges posed by climate change need to be addressed in a concerted manner by the most powerful actors in the international system, the immediate consequences tend to be felt more strongly by a handful of very poor countries.Readings from the class will draw on contemporary research on the correlation between climate change and civil unrest; primary sources on statistical evidence of the impact of climate change on agricultural production (from organizations such as FAO, World Bank, and IMF); and classic work on collective action, public goods, and international cooperation.

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester.  Visiting Professor Mattiacci.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to political science majors.


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015