Abstract: A growing body of empirical evidence indicates that changes in climate are associated with increases in human violence. I review new and recent evidence on this topic, using data ranging from baseball games in the US to civil war in Africa. Across disparate settings, warmer-than-average temperatures are shown to cause increases in violence, with effect sizes that are both consistent and large. Economic theories of conflict appear to explain some of the linkage between climate and conflict, but are not consistent with the data in all settings. Constructive engagement with the political science and security communities will be very helpful in understanding and interpreting these findings.
About the Speaker: Marshall Burke is assistant professor in the Department of Earth System Science, and Center Fellow at the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University. His research focuses on social and economic impacts of environmental change, and on the economics of rural development in Africa. His work has appeared in both economics and scientific journals, including recent publications in Nature, Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Review of Economics and Statistics. He holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Berkeley, and a BA in International Relations from Stanford.