et al., 2010), although the committee also received a briefing on its more recent work (Goldstone, 2012).
As discussed further in Chapter 6, the PITF has examined hundreds of potential explanatory variables, finally concluding that the countries most susceptible to internal violence have been partial democracies pursuing policies that favor one segment of their population over others. The other two variables in the researchers’ statistical model, in addition to their characterization of political institutions and allocational policies, are infant mortality and the incidence of conflict in bordering states. The results, published in 2010, include some climate-related variables (e.g., the impact of drought) in the list of those that did not prove to be statistically significant.
Extending that assessment, Hewitt et al. (2012) developed the Peace and Conflict Instability Ledger, which assigns risk factors to all countries in the world (again without consideration of climate variables). This effort finds regional concentrations of risk in South Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that unusual climate events in those regions are of particular concern in terms of exacerbating the potential for political instability. As discussed further below, the Indus River valley is an area of particular concern because of a combination of political and environmental factors, including unusually severe drought and flooding, and a political process that has favored using available water for irrigation rather than for power generation but that has not allocated water equitably between the favored Punjab and the arid Sind regions. On the Peace and Conflict Instability Ledger, Pakistan has the seventh-highest risk factor in the world, with neighboring Afghanistan having the highest. In addition, while water-related issues in the Middle East, particularly among Israel, Syria, and Turkey, have been managed relatively well to date, the underlying tensions in the region could begin to affect that cooperation.
The recent literature exploring potential links between climate events and violent conflict is discussed in the next section. As described above, the literature on other forms of extreme political instability has generally not explored potential climate–security connections. As the Bates (2008) and Marten (2010) reviews make clear, most of the efforts to understand the origins of state failure focus primarily on economic factors, various forms of ethnic divisions, and the state of democratization in a particular country. Within and across each of these major categories, there is substantial disagreement on causal pathways and on which factors are likely to exert the most influence on the survival of a regime.
Bates (2008) also echoes suggestions from other literatures on the need for more data from below the national level to gain better insights into the dynamics of state failure: