Petroleum, prices and protests: The impact of climate change mitigation on social unrest
Project leader: Nina von Uexkull, Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer
Other project employees:
Isak Svensson, Professor
Espen Geelmuyden Rød, Researcher
Ulrika Lundin Glans, Research Assistant
Funder: Swedish Research Council
Time period: 2021- 2024
Climate change is increasingly regarded as humanity’s greatest collective challenge, which threatens to permanently alter the foundations of societies across the world. Mitigating global warming requires comprehensive measures, including a massive reduction of fossil fuel use. Countries as diverse as France, Yemen and Nigeria have experienced massive protests following rising fuel prices. These events illustrate that the economic transformation required to meet climate goals could have significant social consequences, including the potential for social unrest and conflict, that have received little academic attention. Recognising the significance of fossil fuels for modern economies and as a target of climate change mitigation policies, this project (1) assesses the extent to which social unrest is driven by changes in fossil fuel prices; (2) assesses the potential of such fuel protests to escalate to wider social conflicts, including armed conflict; and (3) studies why fuel protests end in different ways: governments backing down, protesters giving up, or government and protesters reaching accommodation. To these ends, the project combines statistical studies on fuel prices, government subsidies and social unrest and a comparative cases study on protest outcomes.
Related Publications and Working Papers
Mustasilta, Katariina & Isak Svensson (2023) Divided We Fall: Ethnic Cleavages, Movement Cohesion, and the Risk of Escalation to Civil War in Non-Violent Uprisings. Civil Wars (March): 1–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/13698249.2023.2177054.
Von Uexkull, Nina, Espen Geelmuyden Rod, Isak Svensson (2022): ”Snabbare klimatomställning kan förhindra fler krig” DN debatt https://www.dn.se/debatt/snabbare-klimatomstallning-kan-forhindra-fler-krig/
- Tobias Ide, McKenzie F. Johnson, Jon Barnett, Florian Krampe, Philippe Le Billon, Lucile Maertens, Nina von Uexkull & Irene Vélez-Torres (2023) The Future of Environmental Peace and Conflict Research (Forum Article), Environmental Politics, DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2022.2156174
Main financial support
Swedish Research Council