Article

Effects of Rapid Climate Change on Violence and Conflict

Courtney Plante, Johnie J. Allen and Craig A. Anderson

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science


Published online April 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190228620 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.344

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Given the dire nature of many researchers’ predictions about the effects of global climate change (e.g., rising sea levels, droughts, more extreme weather), it comes as little surprise that less attention has been paid to the subtler, less direct outcomes of rapid climate change: psychological, sociological, political, and economic effects. In this chapter we explore one such outcome in particular: the effects of rapid climate change on aggression. We begin by exploring the potential for climate change to directly affect aggression in individuals, focusing on research showing the relationship between uncomfortably hot ambient temperature and aggression. Next, we review several lines of research illustrating ways that climate change can indirectly increase aggression in individuals. We then shift our focus from individuals to the effects of climate change on group-level aggression. We finish by addressing points of contention, including the challenge that the effects of climate change on aggression are too remote and too small to be considered relevant.

Keywords: aggression; conflict; ecomigration; heat; intergroup; scarcity; temperature; violence

Article.  11812 words. 

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Meteorology and Climatology ; Communication Studies

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