Scientists: Crime, War to Increase Because of Climate Change

by Ian Tuttle

Apparently getting “hot under the collar” is not just a figure of speech.

According to a new study published in the journal Science, a team of U.S. scientists “found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.” The BBC reports:

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.

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 scientists say that with the current projected levels of climate change the world is likely to become a more violent place.

They estimate that a 2C (3.6F) rise in global temperature could see personal crimes increase by about 15%, and group conflicts rise by more than 50% in some regions.

Besides the obvious problem of correlation versus causation, there is also the crucial but much-neglected difference between “climate change” and “weather.” Not to mention that blaming the Bosnian genocide or the Algerian civil war on global warming is a hard sell, to say the least.

But, hey. Now you have a retort the next time someone tells you to chill out.