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‘Force of Nature’ : climate shocks, food crises and conflict in Colonial Africa and Asia, 1880-1960

Authors
  • Papaioannou, Kostadis J.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
Source
Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

“Global climate change poses one of the most urgent challenges of our age. The increasing frequency and intensity of weather shocks, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, and hurricanes, are all anticipated to adversely affect conditions of agricultural production, and jeopardize efforts to achieve global food security. In recent years, there has been a rapidly growing body of literature across multiple disciplines aiming to quantify and assess the adverse consequences of climate on relatively poor rural societies. Building entirely on original primary sources, this dissertation provides evidence that weather shocks raised property crime, triggered civil conflict and shaped patterns of human settlement in British colonial Africa and Asia during the first half of the twentieth century (~1880-1960). By merging the theoretical and empirical insights of several strands of literature (e.g. economics, history, geography), this dissertation has both academic and social merit. Its academic merit lies in its promise to disentangle the net effect of climate on societies from the many other contextual factors that may affect them. And its social merit lies in its capacity to reveal key factors that can mitigate the adverse consequences of weather shocks, enabling tailor-made policy interventions. In sum, the present dissertation contributes to a better understanding of long-term agrarian development in tropical Africa and Asia, offering fresh input to academic debates on how to mitigate the effects of weather extremes”

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