A new study finds climate change impacts terrorist activity. 

Dr Jared Dmello from the University of Adelaide has unveiled a startling connection between climate change and shifts in terrorist activities in India. 

New research, focusing on the period from 1998 to 2017, reveals how changing climatological variables like temperature, precipitation, and elevation are influencing the patterns of extremism.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Security Research, found that extreme weather conditions, driven by global warming, are forcing terrorist groups to relocate. 

Urban centres, previously not considered prime targets or bases due to their climatic stability, are now seeing an increase in terrorist activities as rural and remote areas become uninhabitable. 

“Urban centres have increasingly grown in population density, particularly in spaces with favourable 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,” Dr Dmello says.

This shift is not just about location; it is also about timing. 

The study highlights how the timing of terrorist activities has become increasingly seasonal, correlating with the intensity of climatic changes. 

“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 defence,” Dr Dmello said.

The study offers a new lens through which to view both climate change and terrorism, calling for a holistic approach to national security that considers environmental sustainability as a foundational element. 

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

“To effectively mitigate radicalisation, 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.”