Is Climate Change Responsible for the Conflict in Darfur?

Chris Blattman looks at the issue:10darfur2_600

The pundits say yes, but what do the data say?

According to a Democracy Now interview with Columbia professor Mahmood Mamdani, climate change is a main driver of the conflict:

From the late 1970s you have had a significant desertification, and you’ve been having in the north of Darfur basically a situation where people’s simply entire livelihoods are destroyed, and which has been one of the elements, because it has driven the nomadic population in the north down into the south.

Jeff Sachs agrees in this 2005 book interview:

Two things have happened. First, the population has doubled in the last generation, and second, the rainfall has gone down sharply. These are very hungry, crowded people, and now they are killing each other.

Darfur’s climate crisis even finds its way into Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth:

Focus most of all on this part of Africa just on the edge of the Sahara. Unbelievable tragedies have been unfolding there and there are a lot reasons for it. Darfur and Niger are among those tragedies. One of the factors that has been compounding this is the lack of rainfall and the increasing drought.

But if a thousand pundits say it’s so, does that make it true?