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According to the group of intergovernmental experts on Climate Change (GIEC), climate changes will generate an increase in the number of atypical climate events throughout the world, such as droughts and floods. These climate anomalies could have disastrous consequences for countries that experience problems accessing drinking water or whose economy depends on local agriculture. Some recent studies even assert that drought is one of the causes of civil war. The most emblematic case is Darfur, as the present consensus is that drought was one of the factors of civil war, although the conflict also had an ethnic component. In our study, we show that the link between precipitation, temperature and civil war found in the literature may be due to planetary impacts not linked to climate variations. The problem is due to the impossibility of distinguishing the effects of annual climate variations from other planetary phenomena such as large-scale political changes like the end of Cold War or global macro-economic variations like financial crises. When we consider this type of factors, precipitation and temperature variations have a much lower and non-significant effect on the risk of civil war. The use of the Palmer index, a local drought measure which describes the impact of the lack of water on social conflicts, shows in a more satisfactory way than precipitation and temperature measures that the drought effect on civil war is low but positive.


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