The Los Angeles Times has seen the future and it is filled with a rising tide of violence all due to climate change.
In a piece on the results of a study by several UC Berkeley researchers, the Times warns that if we don’t “get our act together” and address climate change, then we will see an “alarming” rise in war and “interpersonal violence” due to climbing global temperatures.
For the newspaper, science writer Monte Morin kicked off his report quoting crime novel author Raymond Chandler who helpfully noted in a 1938 crime novel that summer heat brings out the worst in people.
From that bit of pop culture, Morin claimed that “social commentators” have “long suggested” that high temperatures cause men’s temper to flare and then moved on to the Berkeley researchers who found “strong causal evidence” to suggest that global warming will have us all at each other’s throats by the year 2050.
Morin tells us that the Berkeleyites “pulled together” data from such sources as reports of road rage, studies on the rise and fall of ancient civilizations, stats from Major League Baseball, works from social commentators, climatologists, psychologists, economists, and “other sources” to prove their theory that global warming will enrage us all.
Morin warns that the study claims that, “episodes of interpersonal violence–murder, assault, rape, domestic abuse–could increase by as much as 16%.”
“We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict … across all major regions of the world,” Morin says researchers concluded.
What criterion assures the researchers of this?
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. It also assumes that humanity will do little to adapt to large changes in regional climate or altered rain patterns, such as developing new heat and drought-tolerant crops.
But global warming awareness could save us all.
“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.”
As he concluded his article, Morin found that not everyone thought the Berkeley study had merit.
“The study does not give a single example of a real conflict where both data and qualitative evidence suggest that the violence was caused at least partly by climatic anomalies,” said Halvard Buhaug, a professor of political science at the Peace Research Institute Oslo in Norway.
Let’s hope professor Buhaug doesn’t make any global warmists hot under the collar. There could be violence.