Why Terrorism Is on the Move

Why Terrorism Is on the Move

As unlikely as it may seem, climate change may be a key element in where terrorist attacks take place around the world in the future, as extremist groups adapt to an evolving environment, a new study has found.

The study, led by Jared Dmello, focused on terrorist activity in India and found that the changes caused by an evolving climate had an influence on where it occurred. Dmello is an extremism expert and senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Adelaide’s School of Social Sciences in Australia.

To reach their findings, which were published in the Journal of Applied Security Research, researchers studied terrorist activity that occurred in India between 1998 and 2017. In this period, there were 9,096 incidents, according to data from the Global Terrorism Database.

The study indicates that climate change is a factor that is perhaps overlooked when establishing security strategies, and the information gained could be highly important to governments across the world when discussing defense.

Authors note that the data from India could be applied to other countries, such as Australia.

“While terrorism and violent extremism manifests differently in Australia, with far lower levels of attacks than India, radicalization is still a salient challenge here and one that the Australian government has established as a national priority,” Dmello said in a statement.

“To effectively mitigate radicalization, other critical issues, such as homelessness, food insecurity, water and energy crises, and enhanced social equity, are essential for ensuring a more secure space for us all.”

Throughout the study, Dmello assessed climatological variables such as temperature, elevation and precipitation. All of these were found to relate to “shifting patterns of terrorist activity,” the author said.

“Urban centers have increasingly grown in population density, particularly in spaces with favorable climates, and some of the more remote areas once used by extremists have experienced such increasingly dynamic climates that they are no longer fit for human habitation, forcing these groups to migrate elsewhere,” Dmello said in a statement.

“This research shows that stopping the damaging effects of climate change is not just an environmental issue, but one that is directly tied to national security and defense.”

Terrorism and the intensity of the climatological variables studied were found to be related to the location of attacks. However, the shift in location was also found to be seasonal, the study reported.

Attack location was the main area looked into, however researchers also noted that data points to other extremist activities shifting in response to changing weather patterns. Training locations, for example, also appeared to be moving.

“Average temperatures in India reached record highs during our 20-year study period,” said Dmello. “This time frame represents a broad enough range to demonstrate climate change, while also availing of the most recent reliable data that covers both the climate change and extremism dimensions for the country.”

Climate change is causing more extreme weather all across the world. While this has obvious effects such as flooding or drought, there are other lesser-studied impacts that are still not fully understood.

Source » newsweek.com