Climate change and the responses to it are likely to provide more openings for violent nonstate actors (VNSAs) to exert power. In short, this is because climate impacts can impair governance in ways that reduce state capacity and legitimacy, intensify competition for resources and livable territory, and necessitate invidious policies. Nonstate actors could respond to these developments by using violence, either to influence state behavior or to replace the role of the state in certain areas.
This essay identifies six climate-related factors that will create openings and drive demand for VNSAs, a category that includes de facto states, insurgencies, criminal groups, warlord-led groups, private security companies, paramilitaries, and terrorists.
The six factors are:
- Food, water, and energy crises that undermine state capacity and legitimacy
- More environmentally inhospitable areas
- More invidious restrictions on resources
- Higher demand for people smugglers and armed border guards
- Chaos and injustice after climate-exacerbated disasters
- Anger at those responsible for climate change
The argument is not that there will necessarily be more total VNSA activity globally in 2030 or 2040 than in previous decades. As consequential as climate change (and environmental breakdown more broadly) is, it remains only one of several factors influencing the emergence and growth of VNSAs, among others such as the efficacy of governance, ideological movements, demographic change, and developments in security technology. Humans also retain a considerable capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts. Nevertheless, as this essay seeks to show, there are a number of factors that follow from projections of likely climate outcomes compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),1 such as more severe droughts or floods, that will at the very least put upward pressure on the number of openings for VNSA activity (see figure 1). This essay is a taxonomy, a tour through the landscape, that aims to provide a platform for future research within this Carnegie project and beyond.
Food, Water, and Energy Crises that Undermine State Capacity and Legitimacy
Political science research has identified the provision of “welfare gains”—a steady improvement in living standards—as a key determinant of a state’s legitimacy.2 Climate change will exacerbate damaging extreme weather events, which will inhibit states’ capacities to improve their citizens’ welfare or create the security conditions to protect their existing welfare and property. Resources that could hypothetically have been directed to improving education or healthcare will instead be directed to climate resilience or renewable energy, or perhaps never accumulated in the first place. Indeed, climate change can be expected to shave over 10 percent off global economic output by 2050 compared to growth levels without climate change, with much more severe losses in vulnerable countries.3 And climate change could reduce agricultural productivity by over 20 percent from 1961–2021 compared to a counterfactual scenario.4
Thus climate change can reduce a state’s outcome or performance legitimacy. While this is only one dimension of legitimacy—alongside forms of input legitimacy based on the legality of government or the consent of the governed—it is an important one, especially in nondemocratic states.5 When states are seen as illegitimate because they fail to deliver security and prosperity to citizens, powerful nonstate actors such as insurgencies or warlord-led groups can thrive. In comparison to a flailing state that cannot provide key services, VNSAs can appear relatively more legitimate, which makes it easier for them to justify their breaking of the state’s monopoly on violence.6
Legitimacy also helps to establish and maintain peace: for example, the failure of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to defeat the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab in the early 2010s has been ascribed to “its failure to garner internal political legitimacy.”7 For another, Pakistani security forces were arguably able to achieve victory against the Pakistani Taliban not because they switched military tactics but because they recovered legitimacy.8 During conflicts and in the early postconflict stage, this performance legitimacy is “generally the main source of legitimacy.” To achieve it, states must provide services and ensure that citizens’ basic needs are met.9
Two competing theories on when people engage in rebellious political behavior both suggest the relevance of climate impacts. According to relative deprivation theory, rebellious political behavior is motivated principally by anger resulting from frustration or material deprivation (along with ideology).10 Similarly, power contention theory argues that people make rational decisions to rebel when they expect the benefit of doing so to exceed the costs. A 2011 World Bank survey of countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East found that a sustained lack of income-generating opportunities was the most common motivation for joining rebel movements and street gangs.11
Modern history offers several examples of a state’s failure to deliver basic services opening up opportunities for VNSAs. In Syria in the late 2000s, drought led to food insecurity and thus paved the way for the protests that triggered the Syrian civil war.12 Poor delivery of public goods by the state has undermined peace in Iraq amid water shortages in the late 2000s,13 as well as hindered peacebuilding in post-war Nepal from 2006 after electricity shortages.14 In drought-stricken Iran in late 2021, two separate clashes between farmers short on water and the police led to dozens of injuries.15 The challenge to legitimacy is particularly acute in authoritarian states that lack input legitimacy, where the social contract is based on citizens sacrificing self-determination and democratic rights in exchange for basic security and rising living standards. When a state can no longer hold up its end of the bargain, it can quickly come under pressure, even if its failure was partly the result of carbon dioxide emitted in previous decades on different continents. Into this vacuum enter VNSAs.
More Environmentally Inhospitable Areas
Environmentally inhospitable areas are prime territory for VNSAs, especially in “ungoverned spaces” where state authority is weak and the primary economic activity beyond agriculture is illegal activity such as smuggling.16 When climate change turns grasslands into deserts, or contributes to soil salinization, it makes agriculture more difficult in ways that can enable VNSAs to recruit fighters and exercise authority.17
Geography is already a factor behind the near-ungovernability of spaces within African states such as Libya, Algeria, and Mali.18 The Sahel, the semiarid region of West Africa that separates the Sahara Desert from the tropical savannas to the south, is a good case study. Climate change is contributing to desertification, destroying livelihoods, driving migration, and exacerbating dangerous farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria and Mali.19 Desertification drives herders south, where they compete with farmers for water and fertile land. It is in this environment, characterized by droughts and a shortage of fertile land as well as the disruption of livelihoods, that the Boko Haram insurgency has gained more recruits and more power.
Richer countries with stronger governance are not immune to the environmental pressures that can contribute to the emergence of VNSAs. A historic megadrought in the Western United States has already pushed governments to take necessary but invidious water conservation measures. In 2001, when the U.S. Bureau of Land first announced plans to cut off farmers’ water in order to keep enough water for fish to survive in Oregon’s Upper Klamath Lake, it sparked an uprising of armed farmers and ranchers, who breached a government facility to open irrigation gates; later that year, three men went on a racist shooting spree near the offices from which the Indigenous Klamath Tribes campaign for water rights.20
Tensions have been rising again. In 2014, right-wing supporters of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy entered an armed standoff with U.S. federal officers over a dispute stemming from Bundy’s failure to pay grazing fees for his use of federal land in Nevada. In 2016, Bundy’s supporters (the People’s Rights Network) seized a federal wildlife reserve in Oregon in protest against government control of Western land. And in 2021, these groups threatened to use violence to impose their preferred policies over water resources by forcibly opening the headgates to a reservoir.21 With the megadrought in the American West getting worse and the U.S. federal government requiring Western states to significantly reduce their water use,22 there is potential for more radical water politics and increased VNSA activity.
In California, some citizens have expressed concern about armed, camouflaged militias exploiting forest fires to recruit more members. The so-called California State Militia avers that it consists of “patriots” preparing for “the unrest yet to come.”23 If the failure of states to deliver under the stresses of climate change will create appetite for alternatives, the expansion of ungoverned territory will grant those alternatives new spaces to take root where crops cannot.
More Invidious Restrictions on Resources
Concerns about climate change will push governments to place more restrictions on when and how fossil fuels can be extracted and burned, potentially leading to violent protests. In fact, “between 2005 and 2018, 41 countries had at least one riot directly associated with popular demand for fuel.” The cause of the unrest was either a global energy shock or a domestic policy decision that had the effect of raising prices.24 Indeed, concerns about climate change are causing more and more countries to implement carbon pricing—forty-seven according to the World Bank—and governments were gradually, belatedly, reducing fossil fuel subsidies as well, at least until the energy crisis of 2021–2022.25
The mirror image of protests about rising prices for fossil fuels are protests about the unfortunate side effects of the required transition to clean energy: the towns that might be spoiled by new mines, the residents who might have to move to make way for new power transmission lines, the rustic vacation views marred by renewable electricity production. The disputes over the supporting infrastructure for the clean energy transition are still in their early days.
So far few governments—and zero major fossil-fuel producers—have been willing to join initiatives like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and pledge to end fossil fuel extraction. The restrictions on fossil fuel production that have been implemented so far have mostly targeted coal mines, which have driven protests in Poland, for example.26 But if governments take their climate pledges seriously, they will eventually have to restrict the output not only of oil fields but also of other “climate-forcing assets” like beef farms.27
In stronger states, the backlash against such restrictions might look something like that against the British government’s efforts to close coal mines in the 1980s. For economic and political reasons, prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s government was determined to close down unprofitable, subsidized coal mines and break the mining unions. Miners went on strike in response and obstructed coal mines to prevent scabs from continuing production. The conflict culminated in the 1984 Battle of Orgeave where thousands of miners and police officers had a showdown outside a coal plant in Yorkshire that led to dozens of injuries.28
In 1980s Britain, the goal of the strikers was to change government policy; in weaker states, VNSAs might seek to seize control of fuel-producing territory—think of the Islamic State capturing Syrian and Iraqi oil fields in the mid-2010s. Already today Nigeria cannot prevent hundreds of thousands of barrels’ worth of oil being stolen every day; a Nigerian government that tried to reduce oil production would face an ever bigger challenge preventing people from using force to capture the value embedded in oil.29
The transition to low-carbon energy is also making a new group of topical resources significantly more important and valuable: these include the lithium and cobalt used in many batteries, copper used in electrical wiring, and rare earth minerals required for wind turbines and other renewable technologies.
VNSAs are already moving to control these resources, sparking conflict in new areas. In the Amazon rainforest, criminal networks have built hundreds of illegal airfields to allow them to ship goods to and from their illegal mines.30 Wildcat miners allegedly stabbed to death the chief of a Waiapi village in the Brazilian Amazon, in just one example of the violence committed against Indigenous people during scrambles for resources.31 Meanwhile, various groups of Indigenous guards have sprung up to protect their territory in Colombia and Ecuador.32
Although most miners are hunting for gold, the minerals required for the clean energy are also prized targets for wildcat miners and international conglomerates alike. Armed criminals and looters are going after platinum and copper in South Africa’s mines.33 Protesters against lithium extraction have shut down roads near extraction sites in Chile,34 and others in Serbia have blocked highways to prevent the opening of a lithium mine operated by Rio Tino.35 Meanwhile, terrorist groups such as the Allied Democratic Forces–National Army for the Liberation of Uganda have financed themselves by smuggling minerals out of the cobalt-rich Democratic Republic of Congo.36
The energy transition should eventually reduce oil and gas to resources of minor importance. But it will not put an end to conflict over valuable, energy-related resources.
Higher Demand for People Smugglers and Armed Border Guards
Climate impacts will force millions of people to leave their homes, hometowns, and home countries over the coming decades.37 Some of these migrants will turn to people smugglers in the hope of accessing territories where they are legally unwelcome. Tragically, this is already big business worth billions of dollars on the U.S. southern border, where over 5,000 people were arrested and charged with human smuggling in 2021,38 and worth over $100 million a year on the Western and Central Mediterranean migratory routes to Europe.39 If climate change increases the pressure to emigrate from vulnerable areas, and there remains no international agreement on legal status and migration pathways for climate refugees, there will be more people handing over their savings to smugglers just for a chance at a better life—and those savings can fund all manner of illegal armed activity. On the receiving side of the border, there could be VNSAs waiting to halt the migrants. In the United States, these vigilante groups, from the Minuteman Project to the Three Percenters, have plagued the southern border for decades.40
While climate-related migration is generally about vulnerable people seeking refuge in the nearest hospitable or livable area, rich people with the “right passports” could also respond to climate change in ways that increase the demand for VNSAs. In the face of supply chain disruptions and water scarcity, some people could seek to insulate themselves from the tumult of a climate-changed world by retreating to private communities, equipped with their own small power grids with energy storage and their own desalination plants to protect their water supply.
Unless they were to be open to all—an unlikely prospect as the point would be to preserve resources for the few—these communities would need to be protected by gates and armed guards. This is not something out of dystopic science-fiction films like Elysium, where ultrarich elites live on a verdant space station while most of humanity fights for survival on a ruined Earth. Private security contractors already patrol Chicago and Los Angeles neighborhoods to protect their employers from crime.41 And within hours of Hurricane Katrina smashing New Orleans in 2005, armed men from the private security firms Blackwater and Instinctive Shooting International were wielding machine guns to protect private businesses and government buildings.42
Chaos and Injustice After Climate-Exacerbated Disasters
The IPCC reports that “human-induced climate change” leads to “more frequent and intense extreme events” and that global warming of 1.5°C or greater would cause “unavoidable increases in multiple climate hazards.”43 In response to more damaging floods and wildfires, governments will spend more on postdisaster aid. When these responses are insufficient or inequitable, it can cause serious anger and cost the state legitimacy.
This has occurred after previous natural disasters. U.S. officials accused Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush of “discriminating on the basis of race and national origin” when his agency denied Houston and Harris Counties federal relief funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2018;44 other research has found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) often gives more aid to white disaster victims than to people of color. (This is partly because FEMA gives more aid to property owners and landlords than to tenants, and people of color are disproportionately renters, especially in urban areas.)45
After Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2014, the injustice occurred along class lines: reconstruction policies after the disaster were perceived as favoring wealthy business interests, for example because the government imposed a 40-meter no-build zone near the water that displaced fishermen from their livelihoods. It also denied emergency aid to those who stayed in the area. Yet hotels and resorts were allowed to keep operating in the zone. One member of People’s Surge, a local social movement organization demanding disaster justice, was shot and killed by Filipino police officers who believed he belonged to the communist New People’s Army.46 While nonstate actors did not turn to violence in either of these cases, these are nevertheless instances of climate impacts creating resentment among communities in ways that could motivate people to use violence in reaction to injustice.
Sometimes it is not the injustice of the disaster response but the simple inadequacy of it that opens doors for VNSAs. When devastating floods struck Pakistan in July 2010, some victims felt that the government was not doing enough for them. Islamist groups such as the Taliban and Laskhar-e-Taiba stepped in to provide meals, water, and medical care, leading then president Asif Ali Zardari to warn that these extremists would “take babies who become orphans and put them in their own camps, train them as the terrorists of tomorrow.”47 In Mexico, criminal groups known as “narcos” have exploited the coronavirus pandemic to win support by handing out medical aid; they can easily copy this playbook in the wake of natural disasters.48
In addition, the control of international disaster aid can be a source of power for VNSAs. An example here is the drought that helped cause a famine in Somalia in 2011. Al-Shabab controlled southern Somalia during the famine, and its decision to ban UN aid agencies it called “the civilian face of the infidel forces” made the famine more deadly than it would otherwise have been.49
Climate adaptation policy can be a source of discord as well. Where will seawalls be built, and which neighborhoods will they protect? Which areas will governments insure and promise to rebuild—and which will they deem “no-build zones” for which governments and insurers cannot take responsibility? Resentment over government decisions to order people to move away from dangerous territory or hurt property values by remapping flood and fire risk zones could play a role in a person’s decision to support a VNSA.50
Anger at Those Responsible for Climate Change
As climate impacts worsen, the gap between what politicians say about the “existential threat” presented by the climate crisis and what they do to address it continues to grow.51 So, it is to be expected that more climate activists will turn to violence to achieve their ends. This could entail either violent acts intended to pressure politicians to act or direct attacks on fossil fuel infrastructure with the goal of cutting emissions in the short term and raising the cost of burning fossil fuels.
Violence in the name of protecting the local environment is not new. In the 1990s, the U.S.-based Earth Liberation Front committed arson in the service of goals like shutting down a horse slaughterhouse in Oregon or preventing a Colorado forest from being cut down to make way for a ski resort.52 In Niger, since 2006 the militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has carried out attacks on oil and gas infrastructure and abducted oil industry employees;53 while their grievances also include injustice against the Ijaw ethnic group and the lack of local control over resources, pollution caused by hydrocarbon extraction is one key motivator for the group’s violent activity. The campaign of sabotage against copper mining in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, in the late 1980s was similarly driven by a mix of grievances about the control of profits and resentment about environmental damage.54
However, only rarely has mitigating climate change been a key motivation for violent acts. Climate protests are generally peaceful, whether it’s a few Greenpeace activists occupying an oil rig in Denmark or hundreds of thousands of Fridays for Future activists marching through Berlin.55 In the early 2020s, more activists have turned to low-level property damage, gluing themselves to highways, throwing food on priceless paintings, or deflating SUV tires.56 When people are injured by climate protests, it is almost always in isolated instances of collateral damage, such as when German climate activists from the group Ende Gelände used force to break through a police line protecting the Jänschwalde coal mine in Brandenburg, injuring three officers.57
Even one of the most radical groups with a radical name, Extinction Rebellion, describes its tactics as “non-violent direct action and civil disobedience” (author’s emphasis).58 Meanwhile, hundreds of environmental activists, especially Indigenous people, are killed every year by security forces, criminal organizations, and paramilitary forces determined to continue resource extraction at all costs; according to Global Witness, the most dangerous countries for these environmental defenders are Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil (in that order).59 Oftentimes paramilitary violence against peaceful protesters has preceded violent sabotage by environmental defenders, as in the attacks on the Ogoni people in the Niger delta in the mid-1990s.60
Yet many largely peaceful social movements have benefited from a “radical flank” willing to take extreme measures that a movement’s core supporters won’t.61 Climate impacts are guaranteed to get more severe over the next decade. As a result, it’s possible that a tiny percentage of those peacefully marching for climate justice will believe that targeted kidnappings of fossil fuel executives would reduce fossil fuel production, thus emissions and impacts. An aggrieved citizen might seek violent revenge against a politician they blamed for the death of a sick family member who did not survive the latest heatwave.
The 2021 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate categorizes “developing country demands for financing and technology assistance” and “greater demand for aid and humanitarian relief” as high risks to U.S. national security interests by 2040.62 Although it expects these security risks to play out in diplomatic contexts like negotiations over the G7’s broken promises on climate finance, it is also conceivable that small groups of aggrieved people could deploy violence to punish the countries or companies that are most responsible for the climate crisis—or those they feel are responsible for the negative side effects of emergency climate mitigation tools like solar geoengineering.
The message this essay seeks to convey to North Atlantic foreign and security policymakers is not merely to take climate change seriously—the increasingly disturbing reports from the IPCC should be sufficient. Nor is it to be more vigilant about VNSAs—governments already devote major resources to combating such groups.
Instead this essay has aimed to convey a framework for understanding where such threats will emerge in a world that is overheating and where ecosystems are breaking down. Policymaking in the Anthropocene demands greater attention to biophysical drivers of insecurity: in addition to tracking metrics like support for extremist political parties or arms purchases to see where VNSAs might rise up, security policymakers must look at seemingly mundane measures like rainfall levels and wet-bulb temperatures.63 Fortunately, there are more and more maps showing vulnerability to climate impacts in different regions and where these overlap with non-climate risk factors.64
Whether ecoterrorists or people smugglers or post-hurricane militias, the VNSAs of the twenty-first century will be different from those of the twentieth, a time when humanity mistakenly thought that nature was conquered and inert, with no ability to strike back at its most powerful creation. Nature will strike back through fires and floods. The human victims of those natural events may strike back too.
1 IPCC, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (New York, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2.
2 Bruce Gilley, “The Determinants of State Legitimacy: Results for 72 Countries,” International Political Science Review 27, no .1 (2006): 47–71, https://doi.org/10.1177/0192512106058634.
3 Jessie Guo, Daniel Kubli, and Patrick Saner, “The Economics of Climate Change: No Action Not an Option,” Swiss Re Institute, April 2021, https://www.swissre.com/institute/research/topics-and-risk-dialogues/climate-and-natural-catastrophe-risk/expertise-publication-economics-of-climate-change.html.
4 Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, Toby R. Ault, Carlos M. Carrillo, Robert G. Chambers, and David B. Lobell, “Anthropogenic Climate Change Has Slowed Global Agricultural Productivity Growth,” Nature Climate Change 11 (2021): 306–312, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01000-1.
5 Heike Holbig, “International Dimensions of Legitimacy: Reflections on Western Theories and the Chinese Experience,” Journal of Chinese Political Science 16, no. 2 (06, 2011): 161–181, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11366-011-9142-6.
6 Christopher J Finlay, “Legitimacy and Non‐State Political Violence,” Journal of Political Philosophy 18.3 (2010): 287–312, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9760.2009.00345.x.
7 J. Peter Pham, “State Collapse, Insurgency, and Famine in the Horn of Africa: Legitimacy and the Ongoing Somali Crisis,” Journal of the Middle East and Africa 2:2 (2011): 153–187, https://doi.org/10.1080/21520844.2011.617238.
8 Anatol Lieven, “Counter-Insurgency in Pakistan: The Role of Legitimacy,” Small Wars & Insurgencies 28:1 (2017): 166–190, https://doi.org/10.1080/09592318.2016.1266128.
9 Ruby Dagher, “Legitimacy and Post-conflict State-Building: The Undervalued Role of Performance Legitimacy,” Conflict, Security & Development 18:2 (2018): 85–111, https://doi.org/10.1080/14678802.2018.1447860.
10 Edward N. Muller and Erich Weede, “Theories of Rebellion: Relative Deprivation and Power Contention,” Rationality and Society 6, no. 1 (1994): 40–57, https://doi.org/10.1177/1043463194006001004.
11 World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development (World Bank, May 2011), https://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/abs/10.1596/978-0-8213-8439-8.
12 Cullen S. Hendrix and Erin Sikorsky and Francesco Femia (eds.), “Climate Change and Terrorism: Three Risk Pathways to Consider,” The Center for Climate and Security, Council on Strategic Risks, January 10, 2022, https://climateandsecurity.org/2022/01/briefer-climate-change-and-terrorism-three-risk-pathways-to-consider.
13 Derick W. Brinkerhoff, Anna Wetterberg, and Stephen Dunn, “Service Delivery and Legitimacy in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States,” Public Management Review 14:2 (2012): 273–293, https://doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2012.657958.
14 Florian Krampe, “Empowering Peace: Service Provision and State Legitimacy in Nepal’s Peace-building Process,” Conflict, Security & Development 16:1 (2016): 53–73, https://doi.org/10.1080/14678802.2016.1136138.
15 “Water Conflict Chronology,” Pacific Institute, accessed December 6, 2022, https://www.worldwater.org/conflict/list.
16 Buddhika Jayamaha, Jahara Matisek, William Reno, and Molly Jahn, “Changing Weather Patterns, Climate Change and Civil War Dynamics: Institutions and Conflicts in the Sahel,” Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations 20 (Fall/Winter 2018): 70, http://blogs.shu.edu/journalofdiplomacy/files/2019/03/MATISEK-1.pdf.
17 Joyce J. Chen and Valerie Mueller, “Climate Change Is Making Soils Saltier, Forcing Many Farmers to Find New Livelihoods,” The Conversation, November 3, 2022. https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-making-soils-saltier-forcing-many-farmers-to-find-new-livelihoods-106048.
18 Robert B. Lloyd, “Ungoverned Spaces and Regional Insecurity: The Case of Mali,” SAIS Review of International Affairs 36, no. 1 (2016): 133–41, https://www.jstor.org/stable/27001424.
19 Nsemba Edward Lenshie, Kelechi Okengwu, Confidence N. Ogbonna, and Christian Ezeibe, “Desertification, Migration, and Herder-Farmer Conflicts in Nigeria: Rethinking the Ungoverned Spaces Thesis,” Small Wars & Insurgencies 32:8 (2021): 1221–1251, https://doi.org/10.1080/09592318.2020.1811602; and Tor A. Benjaminsen, Koffi Alinon, Halvard Buhaug, and Jill Tove Buseth, “Does Climate Change Drive Land-Use Conflicts in the Sahel?,” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 1 (2012): 97–111, https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343311427343.
20 Mike Baker, “Amid Historic Drought, a New Water War in the West,” New York Times, June 1, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/01/us/klamath-oregon-water-drought-bundy.html.
21 BBC News, “Cliven Bundy: Case Dismissed for Nevada Rancher in Standoff,” January 8, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42615204; and Kirk Johnson, “Siege Has Ended, but Battle Over Public Lands Rages On,” New York Times, April 14, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/us/public-lands-bundy-malheur-national-wildlife-refuge.html; and Jason Wilson, “Amid Mega-drought, Rightwing Militia Stokes Water Rebellion in US West,” The Guardian, June 8, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/08/klamath-falls-oregon-protests-ammon-bundy.
22 A. Park Williams, Benjamin I. Cook, and Jason E. Smerdon, “Rapid Intensification of the Emerging Southwestern North American Megadrought in 2020–2021,” Nature Climate Change 12 (2022): 232–234, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-022-01290-z; and Ian James, “As Water Crisis Worsens on Colorado River, an Urgent Call for Western States to ‘Act Now’,” June 20, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-06-20/as-colorado-river-reservoirs-drop-states-urged-to-act-now.
23 California State Militia homepage, accessed November 22, 2022, https://www.csm2r.com/home.php.
24 Neil McCulloch, Davide Natalini, Naomi Hossain, and Patricia Justino, “An Exploration of the Association Between Fuel Subsidies and Fuel Riots,” World Development 157 (September 1, 2022): 105935, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2022.105935.
25 Carbon Pricing Dashboard, World Bank, accessed November 22, 2022, at https://carbonpricingdashboard.worldbank.org; and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Tracker, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, accessed November 22, 2022, at https://fossilfuelsubsidytracker.org.
26 Monica Schislowska, “Polish Miners, Power Workers, Protest Shift Away From Coal,” Associated Press, June 9, 2021, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/polish-miners-power-workers-protest-shift-away-from-coal.
27 Jeff D. Colgan, Jessica F. Green, and Thomas N. Hale, “Asset Revaluation and the Existential Politics of Climate Change,” International Organization 75, no. 2 (December 21, 2021): 586–610, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020818320000296.
28 BP Perry, “How Thatcher Broke the Miners’ Strike But at What Cost?,” Sky History, accessed November 22, 2022, https://www.history.co.uk/article/how-thatcher-broke-the-miners-strike-but-at-what-cost.
29 Eklava Gupte, “Nigeria Losing 200,000 b/d to Crude Oil Theft as Sabotage Grows: NNPC,” S&P Global Commodity Insights, February 25, 2021, https://www.spglobal.com/commodityinsights/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/022521-nigeria-losing-200000-bd-to-crude-oil-theft-as-sabotage-grows-nnpc.
30 Manuela Andreoni, Blacki Migliozzi, Pablo Robles, and Denise Lu, “The Illegal Airstrips Bringing Toxic Mining to Brazil’s Indigenous Land,” New York Times, August 2, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/08/02/world/americas/brazil-airstrips-illegal-mining.html.
Jelter Meers, Kuek Ser Kuang Kend, Hyury Potter, Rainforest Investigations Network, “Investigating Rainforest Destruction: Finding Illegal Airstrips with the Help of Machine Learning.” October 12th, 2022, https://pulitzercenter.org/journalism/initiatives/rainforest-investigations-network-initiative.
31 Flora Charner, Apu Gomes, Isa Soares, Waffa Munnayer, “Brazil’s Indigenous Guardians of the Amazon,” CNN, August 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/27/americas/amazon-waiapi-intil.
32 Francesca Badia, “José Gregorio: Either We Preserve the Amazon Rainforest, or the Planet Will Take Revenge,” Open Democracy, October 19, 2020, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/rainforest-defenders-colombia-jose-gregorio; and Alexandra Valencia, “With Court’s Backing, Ecuador’s Indigenous Block Amazon Mining,” Reuters, April 1, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/with-courts-backing-ecuadors-indigenous-block-amazon-mining-2022-04-01.
33 United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, “Strengthening the Security and Integrity of the Precious Metals Supply Chain,” May 2016, https://unicri.it/sites/default/files/2019-10/PM_draft_onlinev.pdf.
34 Dave Sherwood, “Chile Protesters Block Access to Lithium Operations: Local Leader,” Reuters, October 25, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-protests-lithium/chile-protesters-block-access-to-lithium-operations-local-leader-idUSKBN1X42B9.
35 Reuters, “Green Activists Stage Tent Protest to Halt Lithium Exploration in Serbia,” February 11, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/green-activists-stage-tent-protest-halt-lithium-exploration-serbia-2022-02-11.
36 Sebastian Gatimu, “Is the Illegal Trade in Congolese Minerals Financing Terror?,” Institute for Security Studies, March 2, 2016, https://issafrica.org/iss-today/is-the-illegal-trade-in-congolese-minerals-financing-terror.
37 Viviane Clement, Kanta Kumari Riguad, Alex de Sherbinin, Bryan Jones, Susana Adomo, Jacob Schewe, Sadiq Nian, and Elham Shabahat, “Groundswell Part 2 : Acting on Internal Climate Migration,” World Bank, September 13, 2021, https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/36248.
38 Miriam Jordan, “Smuggling Migrants at the Border Now a Billion-Dollar Business,” New York Times, July 25, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/25/us/migrant-smuggling-evolution.html.
39 Frontex, “After the Money: Prices for People Smuggling on Central and Western Mediterranean Routes,” June 23, 2020, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news/news-release/after-the-money-prices-for-people-smuggling-on-central-and-western-mediterranean-routes-EHDfJg.
40 Vanda Felbab-Brown and Elsia Norio, “What Border Vigilantes Taught US Right-Wing Armed Groups,” Brookings Institution, March 12, 2021, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/what-border-vigilantes-taught-us-right-wing-armed-groups.
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42 Jeremy Scahill, “Blackwater Down,” CBS News, September 22, 2005, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/blackwater-down.
43 IPCC, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.
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45 Christopher Flavelle, “Why Does Disaster Aid Often Favor White People?,” New York Times, June 7, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/climate/FEMA-race-climate.html.
46 Dakila Kim P. Yee, “Violence and Disaster Capitalism in Post-Haiyan Philippines,” Peace Review 30:2 (2018): 160–167, https://doi.org/10.1080/10402659.2018.1458943.
47 Alice C. Hill and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption (Oxford University Press, 2020), 195.
48 Vanda Felbab-Brown, “Mexican Cartels Are Providing COVID-19 Assistance. Why That’s Not Surprising,” Brookings Institution, April 27, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/04/27/mexican-cartels-are-providing-covid-19-assistance-why-thats-not-surprising.
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50 Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson, “Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’,” New York Times, May 2, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/us/resettling-the-first-american-climate-refugees.html; and Sarah Pralle, “Drawing Lines: FEMA and the Politics of Mapping Flood Zones,” Climatic Change 152 (2019): 227–237, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2287-y.
51 United Nations, “Climate Change: An ‘Existential Threat’ to Humanity, UN Chief Warns Global Summit,” May 15, 2018, https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/05/1009782.
52 Matthew Wolfe, “The Rise and Fall of America’s Environmentalist Underground,” New York Times, May 26, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/26/magazine/earth-liberation-front-joseph-mahmoud-dibee.html.
53 Jennifer M. Hazen and Jonas Horner, “Annexe 5: The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND),” in Small Arms, Armed Violence, and Insecurity in Nigeria: The Niger Delta in Perspective (Small Arms Survey, 2007), http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep10752.20.
54 Michael Renner, “The Anatomy of Resource Wars,” in Thomas Prugh (ed.), Worldwatch Paper 162 (October 2002): 2, http://archive.niza.nl/docs/200210171557447558.pdf.
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56 Reuters, “Fifteen Climate Activists Glue Themselves to German Motorways,” February 7, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/group-11-climate-activists-glue-themselves-berlin-motorway-2022-02-07; Eduardo Medina, “Climate Activists Throw Mashed Potatoes on Monet Painting,” New York Times, October 23, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/23/arts/claude-monet-mashed-potatoes-climate-activists.html; and Akshat Rathi, “As Politicians Dither on Climate, Activists ‘Fight Back’ by Deflating SUVs,” Bloomberg, July 26, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-26/as-politicians-dither-on-climate-citizens-fight-back-by-deflating-suvs.
57 Deutsche Welle, “Climate Protesters Storm German Coal Mines,” November 30, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/climate-protesters-storm-german-coal-mines/a-51481884.
58 Extinction Rebellion, “About US,” https://rebellion.global/about-us/#:~:text=About%20us.,the%20Climate%20and%20Ecological%20Emergency.
59 Global Witness, “Last Line of Defence,” September 13, 2021, https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/environmental-activists/last-line-defence.
60 Michael Renner, “The Anatomy of Resource Wars.”
61 Andreas Malm, How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire (London: Verso Books, 2021), http://public.eblib.com/choice/PublicFullRecord.aspx?p=6180063.
62 U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change,” October 21, 2021, https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/NIE_Climate_Change_and_National_Security.pdf.
63 Yadvinder Malhi, “The Concept of the Anthropocene,” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 42 (October 2017): 77–104, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102016-060854; and Stewart Patrick, “To Prevent the Collapse of Biodiversity, the World Needs a New Planetary Politics,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 28, 2022, https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/11/28/to-prevent-collapse-of-biodiversity-world-needs-new-planetary-politics-pub-88473.
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