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Climate Change Responsible for Increased World Violence?

A new study links shifts in climate change to increasing violence around the world. In the study, US scientist found that even a small change in rainfall or temperature correlated with rises in violent behavior. The number of murders, rapes and assaults rose along with conflicts in warfare as well.

Published in Science Magazine, the scientists predict that with the projected levels of climate change, the world itself may see an increase in violent actions. The scientists examined 60 studies from all over the world and reviewed data that spanned hundreds of years. In their findings, they report a substantial correlation between climate and violence.

These findings correlated with rises in murders, rapes and assaults in the US when temperatures rose to unusual highs. Plus, incidents of domestic violence rose in India during their recent period of droughts. There are also examples found in other parts of the world where rising temperatures correlated with civil wars and ethnic clashes in Africa and Europe.

While the researchers were hesitant to cite any singular climate event, they claim that the number of different events hint at changing economic conditions that are tied to climate events in general. These events play out in places where agriculture is the primary mover of the economy.

In essence, changing economic conditions caused by rises in temperature, rainfall or a long drought may cause rises in violent behavior because it affects their judgment. Excessive heat has been linked to greater aggression in other studies as well. The psychological ramifications of changes in the environment have been shown to include more violent behavior and making hasty or ill-advised decisions.

However, other researchers have questions the conclusions reached by this particular study. They cite factors not included in the study, such as high population density, high infant mortality rates and being near international borders where conflicts can spill over.

Future research activities will monitor the changes in the global climate and any aggressive behavior as a result. Estimates are that a rise of 3.6F in global temperature may see personal crime rates rise by as much as 15% and conflicts go up by half around the world.

What do you think?


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