University of California Berkeley researchers say episodes of interpersonal violence — murder, assault, rape, and domestic abuse — could increase by 16 percent by 2050 because of warmer temperature and extreme rainfall patterns predicted by climate change scientists. The researchers say war and civil unrest incidents could rise by 56 percent. “We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict [ ] across all major regions of the world,” the researchers concluded in a study published in the journal Science.
The study assumes a global temperature increase of at least 4 degrees Fahrenheit over the next half-century, based on data from the World Climate Research Program in Geneva. “The result is alarming,” said study coauthor Marshall Burke, a UC Berkeley graduate student who specializes in how climate change affects food security. “However, if we get our act together and we mitigate future climate change [ ] the effects will be much smaller.” The authors say they can only speculate on the reasons why increased temperature and changed patterns of rainfall would move humans to violence.