Predicting Wars Based On Climate Change – Really?

There is a remarkable recently NSF funded study that claims to be able predict the liklihood of wars based in part on multi-decadal climate change. Readers can assess from their own perspectives if this is appropriate as a scientifically testable study. 

In my view, a significant portion of NSF funding is going to projects that involve predictions decades into the future, and this is just one example.

 These predictions, of course, cannot be verified during the lifetime of the project (and even for years afterwards), so it is not clear to me why such research is being funded by the NSF. 

Here is the study with an extract from the abstract.  

Collaborative Research: Climate Change and Variability and Armed Conflicts in Africa South of the Sahara

“The number of armed conflicts has declined after the end of the Cold War. There is also a long-term trend towards less severe armed conflicts, though climate change threatens to reverse this favorable trend……Using a predictive model of the coupled natural (climate) and social (violence) systems, with feedback loops and mediating socio-political-economic variables, the PIs will measure the impact of adverse climate change and/or changes in climate variability on the rate of armed conflict, determine which mediating factors influence the rate of this impact, and project the violence outcomes on the basis of different climate change/variability scenarios.”

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