Publication: Crop-damaging temperatures increase suicide rates in India by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Tamma Carleton has a new paper out in PNAS linking the climate to suicide rates in India. 

The analysis is the first to provide large-scale empirical evidence that the climate influences suicide rates in a developing country. The study shows that temperature during India's main agricultural growing season has a substantial influence over annual suicide rates, such that heating up the country by just 1 degree C on one day causes approximately 65 annual suicides. This effect appears to materialize through an agricultural channel in which high temperatures cause crop losses and economic distress, leading some to commit suicide in response. Carleton estimates that warming trends experienced in India since 1980 are responsible for a total of over 59,000 suicides.

See the paper here.

Paper: Non-linear network behavior of protesters during escalating social movements by Solomon Hsiang

Felipe Gonzalez has a new working paper Collective Action in Networks: Evidence from the Chilean Student Movement, demonstrating how millions of students across schools in Chile influence one another to participate in a growing social movement.  Felipe demonstrates how the number of individuals in each student's social network, in addition to each student's physical neighborhood, increases the likelihood that specific students will participate in the 2011 student movement. He finds strong evidence of a "tipping point" where if 40% of a student's class is participating, then the entire class "tips" and begins attending the protest.  This is important because it is the first empirical evidence testing classical models of social network dynamics in revolutionary environments.

Locations of over 50,000 student protesters in Santiago, Chile during the 2011 student movement

Locations of over 50,000 student protesters in Santiago, Chile during the 2011 student movement

Publication: Social and economic impacts of climate by Solomon Hsiang

Tamma Carleton and Solomon Hsiang published an article in Science discussing and synthesizing the methods and results used to understand the impact of climate from the last decade. We demonstrate how findings across the literature and sectors are linked, identify commonalities across numerous studies, and compute how much (i) various aspects of the current climate contribute to to historical social outcomes, (ii) how much climate change to date has affected outcomes, and (iii) quantitative projections of the future. We identify that understanding "adaptation gaps" is the most important area for future research.

Documentary movie on climate as a cause of conflict by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Want to be on the silver screen? Get a PhD. Sol was interviewed for a new documentary (which he hasn't seen yet). 

What the filmmakers say about it

‘The Hurt Locker’ meets ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.
Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis – and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict.
Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as ‘accelerants of instability’ and ‘catalysts for conflict’ in volatile regions of the world.

Publication: Conflict in a changing climate by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Tamma and Sol, along with co-author Marshall Burke at Stanford, published a review of the climate and violence literature in a Special Topics issue of the European Physical Journal.

The review focuses on how to use empirical evidence from historical climate-conflict relationships to make projections about the future. We present new evidence suggesting that income mitigates the impact of temperature on crime and conflict, implying that future projections may be improved by incorporating income-based adaptation. Check out a more detailed blog post about the publication on the blog G-FEED here

Publication: Drug Trafficking Organizations and Local Economic Activity in Mexico by Solomon Hsiang

Felipe González's paper Drug Trafficking Organizations and Local Economic Activity in Mexico was published in PLOS ONE.

(It's the first term paper from our course Spatial Data and Analysis to be published.)

Drug trafficking organizations across space and time. Municipalities colored in black have at least one DTO operating.

Obama cites climate-conflict research by Solomon Hsiang

I was driving into the office today when I heard on the radio that in a speech at the Coast Guard Academy graduation, President Obama said,

"Around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. "

Not only that, but he gets it:

"Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world.  Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram.  It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East."

Not bad.