Climate Change, Disasters and Violent Conflict
The frequency and intensity of disasters related to natural hazards, such as droughts, storms or floods, will increase in the future. Along with the growth of population and assets in vulnerable areas, climate change is one driver of this. There has been widespread speculation about the security implications of climate change, with both scholars and policy makers being concerned that climate-related disasters increase the risk of violent conflict. This talk traces the potential pathways connecting disasters to conflict and exemplifies them using the Syrian civil war as a case study. Afterwards, it presents new, multi-method evidence on the topic, showing that climate-related disasters increase the risk of violent conflict onset in certain contexts.
Tobias currently studies the intersections between (1) global environmental change (including climate change) and (2) peace, conflict and security. His three-year DECRA project analyses how high-impact disasters resulting from natural hazards (e.g., storms, floods, droughts) can affect the (de-)escalation of armed conflicts. Further research interests of Tobias include climate change and conflict, conflict de-escalation, environmental peacebuilding, environmental politics, research methods, and the critical geopolitics of education. While taking a global comparative approach combining qualitative and quantitative information, for instance via qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), he has also done extensive fieldwork, most recently in Israel and Palestine in 2018.
Tobias holds an MA in Political Science (Leipzig, 2012) and a PhD in Earth Sciences (Hamburg, 2015). Afterwards, he worked at the Georg Eckert Institute and the University of Braunschweig, and held visiting positions at the University of Melbourne and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
His research has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the German Research Foundation (DBU), the European Union External Action Service (EU-EAS), and the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), among others. Recently, Tobias published in journals like Nature Climate Change, Global Environmental Change, Journal of Peace Research, Political Geography, International Studies Review, and Annals of the Association of American Geographers.