By Dr. Cullen S. Hendrix
Climate change itself is unlikely to be a cause around which non-state armed actors coalesce and around which their political aims revolve. But climate change will increasingly create recruiting opportunities and expose weaknesses in state institutions that will make existing and future terrorist organizations more capable and/or likely to emerge.
To date, environmental issues have not been a primary cause around which terrorist organizations have organized. Setting aside destructive but largely nonviolent groups like the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts, there are very few terrorist organizations that explicitly cite environmental issues as their primary motivation. None of the organizations on the State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations – neither past nor present – are primarily oriented around environmental issues. Even in cases where environmental issues are central to terrorist discourse, they may be as much about marketing as they are about conditions on the ground.
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