The debate on the relationship between climate change and conflict has reached an impasse. Two dominant narratives state that either climate change causes conflict or that contemporary conflicts have political and institutional causes. The preoccupation with proving or disproving a correlation between climate change and conflict is not helpful. It is time for a more measured view of vulnerability to climate change and a better understanding of the causes of conflict. Narratives of particular conflicts and local responses to climate change are a better guide for policy than generalised models showing simple chains of causality between conflict and climate change.