Study Finds Global Warming May Cause Increases In Crime, War

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A thermometer in the sun on the sidewalk indicates a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

A thermometer in the sun on the sidewalk indicates a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – The findings of a far-reaching study show that steady increases in Earth’s temperature could lead to increases in violent crimes and wars.

The team, including lead author Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley, drew upon 60 preexisting studies for their own research, which led them to discover that extreme weather leads to violence – a fact they found to be true over centuries of time, The Associated Press reports.

“When the weather gets bad we tend to be more willing to hurt other people,” Hsiang said.

For the study, a formula was created to measure the level of risk for various types of violence in relation to the presence of extreme weather.

In the United States, this formula showed that increases of 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit resulted in a 2 to 4 percent rise in the probability of violent crime. In parts of Africa located on or near the equator, many of which are already plagued by war, every one-degree increase lead to more instances of civil unrest and rebellion – 11 percent to 14 percent more, in fact.

Hsiang noted to AP that similar relationships between rising temperatures and violence were observed throughout history and in all parts of the world.

The study was published on the website of the journal Science.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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