Research links Climate Change to Human Conflict

As per a latest study from University of California, Berkeley which analysed 60 studies on climate change, by 2050, human conflict could rise by 50% due to the rising temperatures. The study covered all major types of violence and revealed large and clear changes in human behavior in response to climate.

The research examined human behavior in relation to climate over the past 12,000 years in order to find a link between hot weather and aggression. It was found that intergroup conflict soared by 14% and interpersonal violence rose 4% for each temperature rise.

As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over the past century, the Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F. Although this appears minute, small average temperature changes translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate, which researchers have now revealed also creates hostile environments.

The researchers examined studies from a wide variety of fields including climatology, archaeology, economics, political science, and psychology to make the study accurate and valid. It examined various aspects of climate, such as rainfall, drought, and temperature and cross-analyzed with various forms and degrees of violence in broad categories. The factors were divided into the following groups with specific links to historical events: personal violence and crime like murder, assault, rape, and domestic violence; intergroup violence and political instability like civil wars, riots, ethnic violence, and land invasions; and instructional breakdowns like abrupt and major changes in governing institutions or the collapse of entire civilizations.

The studies found that aggression aggravates as high as 16% in anything hostile from horn-honking to domestic violence, assault, rape, and murder during periods of hotter climates. A temperature rise of just 2°F, in fact, could increase intergroup conflicts, such as civil wars, by over 50%.

 How did the researchers discern that heat makes us angrier, especially in designed studies?

In one of the studies, researchers deliberately caused traffic at a high temperature at a crossing in Phoenix in order to see whether drivers without air conditioning were more likely to honk angrily than drivers in climate-controlled vehicles. Results showed that, indeed, those that were hotter honked more.



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