Rise in violence 'linked to climate change' (BBC)
The researchers looked at 60 studies from around the world, with data spanning hundreds of years. They report a "substantial" correlation between climate and conflict.Our Hotter, Wetter, More Violent Future (Bloomberg)
Their examples include an increase in domestic violence in India during recent droughts, and a spike in assaults, rapes and murders during heatwaves in the US. The report also suggests rising temperatures correlated with larger conflicts, including ethnic clashes in Europe and civil wars in Africa.
The researchers say they are now trying to understand why this causal relationship exists. "The literature offers a couple of different hints," explained Mr Burke.
"One of the main mechanisms that seems to be at play is changes in economic conditions. We know that climate affects economic conditions around the world, particularly agrarian parts of the world. "There is lots of evidence that changes in economic conditions affect people's decisions about whether or not to join a rebellion, for example." But he said there could also be a physiological basis, because some studies suggest that heat causes people to be prone to aggression.
The researchers found a surprisingly close link between climate change and civil wars, riots, invasions and even personal violence such as murder, assault and rape.This might explain Florida
Rising temperatures are especially provocative. A shift toward greater warmth of one standard deviation caused personal violence to increase by 2.5 percent and intergroup conflict by 24 percent. (One standard deviation varies from place to place; in an African country, for example, it could amount to a warming of 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit for a year.)
Why? The science so far doesn’t answer this question, though it’s easy enough to imagine how subsistence farmers could come into greater conflict with one another as their croplands become less productive. Or how, in the face of rising sea levels, coastal dwellers could come to blows over shrinking habitable land. The scientists who did the review point as well to many psychological and economic studies that show people simply behave more aggressively or violently when temperatures are higher.