Climate Change, Resource Reallocation and Great Power Competition

Project Topics
Economic Development
Dates Covered
2022 - 2025


How will climate change and climate-related policies affect the resources upon which the great powers depend for their economies? How will these changes affect their calculations concerning the costs and benefits of resource driven conflict vs. cooperation?  This project brings together a team of economists, political scientists, and ecologists to develop an integrated model of the co-evolution of environmental change and political and economic competition between countries. Our project consists of three parts. First, we will develop a rigorous model of the strategic calculations that climate change will entail and forecast the extent to which the individual pursuit of national interest in this space will drive the great powers toward greater resource cooperation or conflict. Second, we will synthesize the latest research on the regional effects of a warming climate and identify the changes to politically and economically salient resources for the great powers. The resulting data will allow us to map the reallocation of strategic resources, with a focus on food and energy (including such inputs to electric vehicles as cobalt) among countries. Using this data, as well as data on important economic and political variables, we will calibrate our theoretical model, drawing out its empirical implications. Third, we will provide tests of our theory by applying it to important cases where great powers are responding to environmental shocks.