A new study reports that climate shifts are strongly linked to violence worldwide. Research also suggests that even relatively minor departures from normal temperatures or rainfall can substantially increase the risk of conflict, according to the study by researchers at 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, reported the Huffington Post. The results suggest that changes such as drought, flood and high temperatures strongly correlate with spikes in conflict.
Higher temperatures appear to be the biggest issue. Out of 27 modern societies studied, all 27 showed a positive relationship between higher temperatures and violence.
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.
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“What was lacking was a clear picture of what this body of research as a whole was telling us,” said Solomon Hsiang, the study’s lead author, who was a postdoctoral fellow in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at Princeton during the research project according to UC Berkeley News Center. “We collected 60 existing studies containing 45 different data sets and we reanalyzed their data and findings using a common statistical framework. The results were striking.” Hsiang is now an assistant professor of public policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
“Our results shed new light on how the future climate will shape human societies,” said Marshall Burke, the study’s co-lead author and a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
The findings of the study suggest that a global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius could increase the rate of intergroup conflicts, such as civil wars, by more than 50 percent in many parts of the world.