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Global Warming Could Lead to Global Conflict and an Economic Downturn

earth, planet, scienceGlobal warming may be responsible for rising sea levels and habitat destruction, but how is it impacting everyday life for humans?

A study led by Soloman Hsiang of Cal Berkeley has honed in on exactly how climate change affects human conflict. Hsiang and his colleagues, Marshall Burke and Edward Miguel, looked at 60 primary studies and 45 different conflict data sets. In the end, they found that extreme rainfall increases the frequency of interpersonal violence by 4 percent, and intergroup conflict rises 14 percent. In general, changes in rainfall amounts tend to have a big impact on human life.

“Large deviations from normal precipitation have been shown to lead to the forceful reallocation of wealth or the nonviolent replacement of incumbent leaders,” wrote the authors of the study.

Low water availability and high temperatures can be linked to political conflict in low-income situations. When agricultural production is impacted by climate change, tensions have the potential to rise.

However, the most notable conclusion drawn by the researchers may be situated around how global warming could impact our future. With global temperatures expected to rise by up to 4 degrees by 2050, there is a higher risk of conflict.

“Amplified rates of human conflict could represent a large and critical social impact of anthropogenic climate change in both low- and high-income countries,” the authors conclude.

Global Warming and the Economy
Conflict is not the only risk we run as humans when we contribute to global warming. Further research conducted by Hsiang, Burke and Miguel shows that global average incomes could decrease by approximately 23 percent by 2100 if we do not address climate change.

Many of these dangers are no surprise to the researchers, who have seen the relationship evolve between global temperatures and economies over the past 50 years.

“If future adaptation mimics past adaptation, unmitigated warming is expected to reshape the global economy,” the researchers wrote in their abstract.

However, it isn’t all bad news. Countries of the United Nations are planning to come together for a two-week global climate conference in Paris on Nov. 30, according to the Christian Science Monitor. A total of 154 parties have already pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions.


Sources

Hsiang, Solomon M., Marshall Burke, and Edward, Miguel. “Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict.” Science. Retrieved October 28, 2015.

Hsiang, Solomon M., Marshall Burke, and Edward, Miguel. “Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production.” Stanford. Retrieved October 28, 2015.

Spotts, Pete. “Does climate change affect income? New study sees robust link.” Christian Science Monitor. October 21, 2015.