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Climate Change and Collective Violence

Abstract

Climate change is causing increases in temperature, changes in precipitation and extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and other environmental impacts. It is also causing or contributing to heat-related disorders, respiratory and allergic disorders, infectious diseases, malnutrition due to food insecurity, and mental health disorders. In addition, increasing evidence indicates that climate change is causally associated with collective violence, generally in combination with other causal factors. Increased temperatures and extremes of precipitation with their associated consequences, including resultant scarcity of cropland and other key environmental resources, are major pathways by which climate change leads to collective violence. Public health professionals can help prevent collective violence due to climate change (a) by supporting mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, (b) by promoting adaptation measures to address the consequences of climate change and to improve community resilience, and (c) by addressing underlying risk factors for collective violence, such as poverty and socioeconomic disparities.

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