This new paper in the Journal of Human Security looks critically at the prevailing narrative around climate change and conflict in Bangladesh. The paper questions the assumptions of the common narrative which suggests that climate change will lead to human displacement, which will then lead to various kinds of violent conflict. In this paper Ben Saul of the University of Sydney Faculty of Law tests these assumptions against the available evidence. The broad conclusion of the paper is that the popular narrative is not supported by evidence. A narrative that suggests direct causal links between climate change, displacement and then conflict ignores crucial factors, especially the role of human agency.
From the introduction: This article interrogates whether, and to what extent, climate change-related movement in Bangladesh may give rise to two commonly suggested security risks: transnational security risks in relation to neighbouring countries; and domestic security risks of radicalisation, and social conflict over resources. This article is a modest effort to ground consideration of the links between climate change displacement and security threats in a concrete case study of a particular situation, including through a review of the expert national and regional literature and qualitative field research in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. In doing so, it aims to test the prevailing assumptions in the global literature against social realities on the ground, acknowledging security risks where they exist, and deflating those that bear little substance.