Effects of Climate Change to Balance of Power in the AOR

By: LTC Arto Hirvela, FIN Army, CSAG CCJ5
13 July 2021


Climate change is the long-term change of temperature and typical weather patterns in a region. The climate of an area includes seasonal temperature and rainfall averages, and wind patterns. Approximately 74% of natural disasters between 2001 and 2018 were water related. These events included droughts and floods that resulted in over 166,000 deaths, affected over 3 B people, and caused a total economic damage of almost US $700 B. In the past, climate and climate change have had limited effects on conflicts, but the effects are expected to increase in the future. For example, water scarcity will fuel instability in the USCENTCOM AOR. Climate change is also affecting the global economy and power balance through changing energy markets.

Key Points:

  • Climate change acts as a threat multiplier in the USCENTCOM AOR.
  • Increased severity of extreme weather events poses a greater direct risk to USCENTCOM operations.
  • Climate change has more dangerous effect in regions where security is already at risk.
  • Water resources are crucial and considered both target and objective in conflicts.
  • Water scarcity is increasing the number of refugees, forming basis for VEOs recruitment.

Read the complete paper here.

The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of a number of international officers within the Combined Strategic Analysis Group (CSAG) and do not necessarily reflect the views of United States Central Command, not of the nations represented within the CSAG or any other governmental agency.