On March 24, Ker Than argued in National Geographic that "Global warming could make the world a more violent place, because higher temperatures increase human aggression and create volatile situations."
Reporting on the findings of a new study released last week, Than repeated the study authors' estimate of increase in violence as temperatures climb: "[I]f the average temperature in the U.S. increases by 8 degrees Fahrenheit, the country's murder and assault rate will jump by about a hundred thousand cases a year."
"A 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that global surface temperatures could rise by 2 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit" by 2100, he wrote without mentioning any of the criticisms of the IPCC or their own admission of problematic data.
The study about violence and temperature was conducted by sociologist Matthew DeLisi at Iowa State University. He used "government data about average yearly temperatures with statistics on the number of violent crimes committed between 1950 and 2008," to correlate higher temperatures and aggression.
DeLisi admitted there are factors other than temperature to consider such as more interaction with people and more opportunity for crime.
Still, DeLisi told the Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology that climate- induced displacement can result in conflict and "If these types of skirmishes occur on a global scale, the result could be increased civil unrest-and even genocide and war, noted the study authors, who presented their work last week."
Than found two psychologists to back up DeLisi's conclusions, but did not include any critical views in his story.
The news media have been quick to report claims of things that are being caused or will be caused by global warming. Just about every kind of extreme weather event (fires, tropical storms, blizzards, torrential rain, cyclones) has been connected to global warming, but weather isn't alone.
In fact, some fear climate change will cause flowers to stop smelling like flowers - forever.
Dr. John Brignell, a British engineering professor, had dedicated a Web site to media stories that blame anthropogenic global warming. His list includes a number of health ailments including allergies, asthma, cardiac arrest, cancer deaths in England, West Nile fever, cholera, malaria and yellow fever.
Now he can add possible genocide to the list.
Al Gore and National Geographic - we salute you.