by Florian Krampe | published 10 April 2014, Carnegie Ethics Online
How are our efforts to reduce the impact of climate change affecting post-conflict societies? Thinking and research about the possible impacts of climate change adaptation and mitigation on post-conflict societies is almost nonexistent. Most attention remains on climate change and variability and their link to war.1 In this article I discuss the link between climate change mitigation and building peace. Drawing on new empirical data of micro hydropower development in post-conflict Nepal I inquire further if climate change mitigation contributes to peacebuilding.
The findings show that micro-hydropower development in Nepal has not contributed to peacebuilding on a state level. This is because these measures do not strengthen the political legitimacy of the post-conflict authorities, a crucial measure for successful peacebuilding. Actually, in the short run this measure of climate change mitigation has led to new informal spaces of peace beyond the reach of the Nepali state. This puts policy decision makers into a dilemma: Should they consider abandoning climate change mitigation policies if they might in fact risk the peacebuilding process? Or is it worth the bigger cause of reducing CO2 emissions globally? As this article shows, the answer might be more nuanced.