Climate Change May Fan The Flames Of War And Make Violent Crime More Common

Rising temperatures mean less resources, which means more conflict. Here, a Sudanese rebel fighter watches a village burn in the night. Scott Nelson/Getty Images

Violent crime also correlates with increased temperatures. Although the underlying causes are highly complex, temperature-induced stress will, according to one study in the review, contribute towards an extra 180,000 rape cases, 22,000 murders and 1.2 million aggravated assault cases in the US by the end of the century.

“In a thought experiment where we hold all other factors constant,” the authors write, “these recent findings directly suggest that hotter locations with more extreme rainfall patterns and more major disturbances, such as tropical cyclones, will generally face additional health costs, lower productivity, and additional economic costs, greater population movement, and higher rates of violence.”

There is hope, of course. The groundbreaking Paris agreement has just been ratified by the world’s most prolific greenhouse gas emitters, the US and China, paving the way for other sizable nations around the world to officially join the pact. It’s not enough to stop us breaching that hallowed (if arbitrary) 2°C (3.6°F) warming limit, but many think that it will gradually be strengthened over time.

A recent review by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed that the oceans absorb up to 90 percent of our carbon emissions. Without them, the rate of temperature change over the last century wouldn’t be just 10 times above a naturally expected average, but a remarkable 360 times. Already, humanity is facing climate change disasters like never before, even with a vast blue carbon sink shielding us against our worst nightmares.

This carbon sink is filling up quickly, though – and so we face a choice. Cut emissions and change the future, or go full steam ahead and watch the world burn.

If it weren't for the oceans, we'd be literally doomed right now. clarkography/Shutterstock

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