For climate change, more wars and violence

For climate change, more wars and violence

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By Sonia G. Ausin

A study led by the universities of Princeton, Cambridge and California (USA), published in Science, indicates that the increase in temperature favors all kinds of violence, whether personal (crimes) or intergroup (wars), and can even cause changes in governments and the fall of entire civilizations. The 2 ° C increase expected in the coming decades could increase the number of civil wars by up to 50 %.1

There is much debate about the nature of this relationship, but the results are remarkably consistent.1

The scientists found similar patterns of conflict associated with climate changes such as drought and rising temperatures.1

An example would be the increase in domestic attacks in India's latest droughts, as well as an increase in crimes and rapes in the heat wave that hit the US last year.2

A relationship has also been identified between rising temperatures and ethnic clashes in Europe2, police violence in the Netherlands1 and civil wars in Africa.2

The end of the Mayan civilization may be linked to prolonged droughts, and this same change in climatic conditions could have ended the Tang dynasty in China, said Solomon Hsiang, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the lead authors of the study.3

Among the causes suggested by other studies are pressure on resources and an aggressive biological response to heat.2

The period studied includes from 8000 a. C. to the present, and the results represent the work of 190 researchers. one

Among the causes, Edward Miguel, a researcher at the University of Cambridge and co-author of the work, highlights two possibilities: “One can be hostility, since when it is hotter, neurophysiology predisposes us more towards violence. Another cause - he continues - can be economic, since in highly agricultural countries, heat or floods can ruin the harvest and provoke despair that leads to violence ”. one

The researchers cautioned that while the study yielded important data on how climate change might influence global conflicts, they also indicated that climate is not the main cause of these clashes.3

We are in a context of growing ecological crisis that is manifested in climate change, an upcoming energy crisis, the reduction of biodiversity and the deterioration or scarcity of the non-renewable resources necessary to sustain life.4

"In the future, resource shortages coupled with climate change will lead to more conflict." Michael T. Klare. * 1 4

While Joan Martínez Alier, * 2 maintains that “there are two main types of socio-environmental conflicts or ecological-distributive conflicts: conflicts over resource extraction, that is, fossil fuels, minerals, biomass (such as fishing, deforestation,) and disputes over waste. But also for the right to use the oceans and the atmosphere to release greenhouse gases. Whose atmosphere is it, whose oceans are (acidifying)? " 4

According to Jaime Pastor * 3 “The consequences of climate change will be especially dramatic in the regions least responsible for its acceleration, such as Africa. Where in addition, if they are under dictatorial conditions, as has happened in Tunisia or Egypt, they can articulate with struggles for freedoms and for their dignity as peoples. ”4 On the other hand, both Jaime * 3 and Michael T. Klare * 1 worry by “the massive migrations of people, forced to abandon their habitat due to drought and hunger and who will encounter hostility and violence from the inhabitants of the lands to which they arrive.” 4

One element that is receiving little attention is the issue not so much of the scarcity of resources but of the privatization of these and the sale and purchase of future resources in order to speculate and obtain large profits. Despite the serious crisis that we are experiencing, no one has yet dared to question these high-risk speculative operations for millions of people. * 4 4

A possible initiative for Joan Martínez Alier * 2 is to spread knowledge about environmental conflicts. “Environmental justice movements are the most effective force, when they succeed. We must make ´Maps of Successes of the Ecological Resistance´, take this to international meetings, like Durban in December 2011, like Rio de Janeiro in May 2012 ”.4

"The impact of global climate change may present a challenge greater than any humanity has ever faced, with the exception of preventing nuclear war." Gro Harlem Brundtland. 5

But let's not leave your solution in the wrong hands: “Saving the environment is being the most brilliant business of the same companies that destroy it. Eduardo Galeano.

But let's not leave your solution in the wrong hands:

"Saving the environment is being the most brilliant business of the same companies that annihilate it"Eduardo Galeano.6


* 1 MICHAEL T. KLARE. Professor of World Peace and Security at Hampshire College, Massachusetts (USA). ECOS Bulletin nº 15 –June-August 2011 - CIP-Ecosocial. FUHEM. 4

* 2 JOAN MARTÍNEZ ALIER. Professor of Economics and Economic History at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and former director of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) of the UAB. FUHEM.4

* 3 JAIME PASTOR Professor of Political Science at UNED. FUHEM.4

* 4 JOSEP MARIA ROYO. Researcher for the Conflict and Peacebuilding Program at the Escola de Cultura de Pau (UAB). FUHEM.4

Reference: Solomon M. Hsiang, Marshall Burke, Edward Miguel. "Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict". Science. August 2013.


Video: The Silent Killer: A War Ignited by Climate Change. Dania Hallak. [email protected] (June 2022).


  1. Tyrone

    Christmas trees, for professionals article

  2. Zologis

    I regret, that I can not participate in discussion now. I do not own the necessary information. But this theme me very much interests.

  3. Pell

    Bravo, what a phrase ..., the excellent thought

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