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Global Risk & Resilience publications

Download reports published under our Global Risk & Resilience research theme, on subjects including climate change, resource scarcity, conflict and resource constraints.

Urban-Alert (U-Alert)

This scoping exercise report evaluates the potential design and impact of an integrated mobile-based early warning system for extreme events in developing urban areas.

Corresponding author: Dr Michael Green, GSI 

Affiliated Institutes: Anglia Ruskin University, University of York, University of Derby, University of Leeds, Royal School of Military Survey and University of Sussex

Download our report Urban-Alert (U-Alert)

Climate change, resource scarcity and conflict

Case studies of shared water resources in the Indian subcontinent

Limits to the availability of key natural resources (such as land, food, water and oil) and climate change have been linked to social unrest and violent conflict. Analysis that ignores the reliance of society and the economy on natural resources underestimates the exposure to systemic risks. Conflict over natural resources can occur both over the fair distribution of an abundant high value resource, or access to a scarce resource (Brown & Jensen, 2009; Bleischwitz et al, 2014). This report focuses only on the latter, ie where local demand for a resource is greater than available supply, either due to access, distribution or affordability.

Demand for food, water and energy is growing as numbers of people, and the amount we consume per person, increases globally. Climate change and resource scarcity are themselves often linked; climate change may alter the availability of resources (eg water) and therefore changes in access can result in disputes over allocation (Hsiang et al, 2013). Unless pro-actively addressed we will face scarcity of food, water and energy resources in the future (NIC, 2012).

Scarcity of key nonrenewable natural resources and climate change are 'threat multipliers' to violent conflict. They can increase the likelihood of conflict when other social, political, institutional, economic and ecological weaknesses are present (Evans, 2011). However, because of the complexity of the issue causation cannot be confidently claimed for any one particular past event but a correlation certainly can.

In this report resource scarcity and climate change are applied to the risk of water scarcity-related conflict in India, and between India and Pakistan. The report specifically focuses on the socio-political, economic, cultural and environmental characteristics of the Cauvery and Indus catchment regions and the potential for climate change and scarcity of natural resources to destabilise social and political systems.

Download our report Climate change, resource scarcity and conflict

Resource maps

In this report, we've selected datasets that are key to understanding how natural resource availability may influence future global prosperity. Data for all countries for recent years (where available) has been used to generated a series of maps that make it possible to see at a glance some major trends.

Download our report Country resource maps

Resource constraints: sharing a finite world

In 1972, Limits to Growth was first published. It was produced by a group of academics at MIT, who were sponsored by a think-tank called the Club of Rome. This project will examine the effects of 'limits to growth' on financial markets and consequential impacts on actuarial advice.

Working with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, we conducted a series of literature reviews to explore the current evidence for resource constraints and climate change. We were commissioned to undertake further research and modelling of the possible impacts of resource constraints limiting economic growth on actuarial advice. 

Our report, published in 2013, brings together the latest information and research on resource constraints. It examines the current situation and projections for a range of resources including oil, coal, natural gas, uranium, land, food, water and metals as well as considering the environmental loading of the planet in terms of climate change and planetary limits.

Principal Investigator: Dr Aled Jones
GSI researchers: Dr Aled Jones, Dr Candice Howarth

Download our report: Resource constraints: sharing a finite world