Climate Change and the Arab Spring: How Climate Change Impacts Contributed to the Outbreak of the Arab Spring in Egypt in January 2011.
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The Arab Spring is often perceived of as a political struggle against authoritarian regimes in the Arab world. Existing research is characterised by overgeneralisations between Arab countries and a lack of evidence for the connection between climate change and political conflict. This research focusses on the Arab Spring in Egypt specifically, and tackles the underlying factors from a more comprehensive approach. It involves an analysis of climate change impacts on the occurrence of natural disasters and resource scarcity and subsequent impacts on economic activity, food security and livelihoods of Egyptians. In addition, socio-political factors such as governance, bad neighbours and social inequalities are analysed. The analysis reveals that the interaction between environmental and political factors provides a more comprehensive understanding to why the mass protests broke out in Egypt in January 2011. The case study of Egypt shows that structural discontents require exacerbating factors to translate into mass protests. It also proves the claim that climate change is in itself not sufficient to cause political conflict.