Horizon Social Media Analysis


The risk of violence rises with the thermometer

On social networks, a large number of users fear that climate change could be at the root of political instability and violence.

Following the lead of Prince Charles, more and more politicians are beginning to recognize a link between climate change and acts of violence. According to data collected by COP21Horizon, these statements strike a chord with internet users as the most widespread feeling is fear, detected in 34% of interactions on the subject of "climate and war". Next comes anger with 26%, followed by sadness and concern. The recent ISIS attacks around the world have certainly contributed to such emotions.


Increased droughts, a recruitment pool for terrorists 

While interaction on "climate and war" remained relatively low between November 23 and 1st December 2015 (when the first data was collected), social networks came alive on December 3rd with 2 733 exchanges in one day. The reason: the San Bernardino attacks, near Los Angeles that killed 14 people and wounded 21 others. A few weeks before, the Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders recognized that climate change was "directly related to the growth of terrorism ".


In March 2015, a scientific study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences described how the Fertile Crescent, to which parts of Syria and Iraq belong, had suffered the worst drought in its history. Between 2006 and 2011, crop yields collapsed which in turn exacerbated political instability. Similarly, drought in Nigeria is believed to have been one of the causes of the expansion of terrorist organization Boko Haram.

U.S President Barack Obama views Bear Glacier in Alaska

60 million displaced by 2030

Another US study predicts a 54% increase in armed conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. The study, led by Marshall B. Burke, a researcher at the University of Berkeley (USA), highlights the link between rising temperatures, decreasing rainfall and civil war. They did this by extrapolating the median projections of greenhouse gas emissions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for these regions between 2020 and 2039. Sources close to the UN have also revealed a British Army study which estimates that 60 million people could migrate from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and Europe by 2030.


Further to the north, in the Arctic, the ice melt could lead to other tensions. In a place where the effects of climate change are double that of elsewhere, the United States, Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark could, some argue, end up fighting over new land and sea borders; new territories which are rich in oil and other raw materials. The latest IPCC report notes, however, the lack of any solid theory, for now at least, to suggest the occurrence of armed conflict in the North Pole.


© STRINGER Iraq / Reuters / Jonathan Ernst