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Researchers Consider Link Between Shifts In Climate And Human Violence

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BERKELEY (KCBS) – Study findings by three UC Berkeley researchers, published in the journal Science, suggest there is a connection between even minor changes in temperature or rainfall amounts and increased conflict around the world.

The researchers hope the results can be used to help future generations adapt to global warming.

The trio analyzed 60 events over the course of history, considering droughts, the end of ancient civilizations, and many modern era incidents. They analyzed wars, crime statistics and even road rage data.

“Small deviations from normal temperatures and normal rainfall lead to pretty large increases in a variety of types of human conflict,” explained research Marshall Burke. “And we find this holds true across many different regions of the world.”

He described these the strongest recent findings, in terms of studying the role that climate plays in society and human behavior.

“What our findings suggest is that we need to think really hard about how to invest in future adaptation. If we don’t do anything, our findings suggest the effects of climate change could be very large on human conflict. Violence could increase substantially in many parts of the world,” he said.

Based on the data, Burke said he and his colleagues concluded war and civil unrest could increase more than 50% by 2050 and cases of interpersonal violence could increase as much as 16%.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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