18063Breakthrough Study Links Climate Change & Violence
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CLIMATE CHANGE AND VIOLENCE LINKED, BREAKTHROUGH STUDY FINDS
By Robin Wilkey
The Huffington Post
August 1, 2013
Shifts in climate change are strongly linked to human violence around
the world, according to a comprehensive new study released Thursday by
the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University.
The research, which was published in Science, examined 60 previous
studies from all major regions of the globe. The results suggest that
changes such as drought, flood and high temperatures strongly correlate
with spikes in conflict.
Researchers noted examples including increased domestic violence in
India and Australia, assaults and murders in the United States and
Tanzania, ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia, land invasions in
Brazil, police violence in the Netherlands and civil conflicts
throughout the tropics.
The biggest culprit: higher temperatures. Out of 27 modern societies
studied, all 27 showed a positive relationship between higher
temperatures and violence.
"We found that a one standard deviation shift towards hotter conditions
causes the likelihood of personal violence to rise four percent and
intergroup conflict to rise 14 percent," UC Berkeley's Marshall Burke,
the study's co-lead author, wrote in a release.
If the study's calculations are correct, a global temperature rise of
just 2 degrees Celsius could increase intergroup conflicts (such as
civil wars) by over 50 percent. And, as Climate Central notes,
projections estimate that temperatures will make that jump by 2040.
"We often think of modern society as largely independent of the
environment, due to technological advances," coauthor Edward Miguel of
UC Berkeley wrote. "But our findings challenge that notion."
Researchers were quick to add that climate is only one part of the cause
of violent conflicts, noting that many contributing factors are deeply
complex. However, they added, determining why climate contributes at all
is an urgent question for future research.
Burke wrote that they hope the results "shed new light on how the future
climate will shape human societies."
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