Recent studies discuss linkages between climate change and violent conflict, especially for East Africa, and focusing on whether climate change increases risk of violent conflict. However, little is known about where a climate-conflict link is most likely to be found. We address this question by analyzing spatial distribution of factors commonly associated with high exposure and vulnerability to climate change, and violent conflict onset in Kenya and Uganda.

Drawing on recent literature and quantitative data from 1998-2008, we develop specifications of a composite risk index (CRI) for Kenya and Uganda in 2008. A quantitative comparison with conflict data for 2008 provides support for the CRI. Finally, the CRI is contrasted with findings from three qualitative case studies, which provide mixed support for the index and help identify its strengths and weaknesses as well as conceptual needs for further quantitative studies on climate change and violent conflict.