Does Climate Change Contribute to Human Violence?

A study of regions across the globe suggests climate change creates more than environmental problems.

Photo Credit: kanvag/ Shutterstock.com

Newly published research released Thursday by the University of California-Berkeley and Princeton University suggests climate change may be related to violence. Scientists who analyzed 60 previous studies from regions across the world found "similar patterns of conflict around the world that were linked to changes in climatic, such as increased drought or higher than average annual temperature."

"Examples include spikes in domestic violence in India and Australia; increased assaults and murders in the United States and Tanzania; ethnic violence in Europe and South Asia; land invasions in Brazil; police using force in the Netherlands; civil conflicts throughout the tropics; and even the collapse of Mayan and Chinese empires," the UC Berkeley news center said.

Heat was a particularly influential factor: Every 27 modern society studied showed a positive correlation between higher temperatures and violence. 

While climate may be one of several contributors to violence,  “Our results shed new light on how the future climate will shape human societies," coauthor Edward Miguel of UC Berkeley said. If climate change continues unheeded, we could be in more for more than just severe weather. 

Read more about the findings


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