Study: Warming earth leading to more suicides

So far, July is running a couple of degrees warmer than normal in these parts, MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner told Tom Crann on All Things Considered last evening and a new study suggests we’ll be needing to pay even more attention to the warming trend, which is no longer debatable.

The research from Stanford University scientists says the warmer temperatures will lead to more suicides.

The team has looked at data back to the ’60s, and factored in confounding things like air conditioning, income level, and gun ownership, and it has found that a monthly rise in temperature of 1 degree Celsius leads to “about a 1 to 2 percent increase in the suicide rate,” says Dr. Marshall Burke, assistant professor of earth system science at Stanford, as reported by WBUR.

The team also wanted to explore the link between temperature and mental well-being generally, not just suicide. In order to do this, they turned to Twitter, where they analyzed “nearly a billion tweets,” says Burke.

After looking at how often the location-tagged tweets used depressive language as well as the temperature of the areas tweeted from, the scientists found “a pattern that’s strikingly similar” to the suicide data, Burke says: Higher temperatures meant worse mental health.

Unlike some results of climate change that are mostly confined to coasts — like rising sea levels or increased hurricane intensity — Burke says poorer mental health will be a burden shared across populations.

Since “everyone is going to experience temperature increases,” he says, “the toll from mental health could be incredibly large.”

The reasons are still uncertain.

“Hotter temperatures are clearly not the only, nor the most important, risk factor for suicide,” Burke said. “But our findings suggest that warming can have a surprisingly large impact on suicide risk, and this matters for both our understanding of mental health as well as for what we should expect as temperatures continue to warm.”

“We’ve been studying the effects of warming on conflict and violence for years, finding that people fight more when it’s hot. Now we see that in addition to hurting others, some individuals hurt themselves. It appears that heat profoundly affects the human mind and how we decide to inflict harm,” Solomon Hsiang, study co-author and associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a news release.

“It’s the most exhaustive study I know of that’s really looked at this relationship between temperature and suicidality in North America,” a Harvard doctor says. “Short of turning on and off the sun,” this paper does as much as possible to prove cause and effect.”

  • MrE85

    It would be interesting to see if more tariffs also are linked to more deaths by suicide. The demographic groups most likely to be hurt, farmers, blue-collar workers, already have higher risks, if I’m not mistaken.

  • Erik Petersen

    Stanford not withstanding, sounds very junk sciency. At best, a correlation and not a causation.

    Sounds like a compulsion borne of contemporary environmental angst to blame something on climate change that need not be blamed on climate change

    You know what ’causes’ suicides in this country? Low barriers to availability of guns…. (and I’m a gun guy…).

    • I’m curious if you read the study?

      • Erik Petersen

        I haven’t. My point is, as a news item it walks like a certain kind of ‘duck’ that comes out of the climate change activism realm. IE, climate change leads to more prostitution, etc. I’m dubious…

      • Karl Crabkiller

        I read the study and have some issues with the suicide rates in Mexico. The study uses Mexican government data on homicides and suicides . For years some Mexican states (Veracruz , Chihuahua , Quintana Roo, Nayarit) classified an astounding percentage of violent deaths as suicide. Nayarit in particular (the Governor was the de facto head of a cartel) declared over 90% of violent deaths as homicides over a 7 year period.

        • which page is that?

        • jon

          Oh, maybe that explains the sharper slope for mexico in the graphic above.

      • The Resistance

        I tried to, but the actual study is only available on Nature.com website for a price…(“Rent or Buy article ..Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube from $8.99”.) The abstract never delves into the details.

        The Stanford article on the study also never clearly explains how they arrived at their conclusion, unless I missed it. It just states “the researchers found strong evidence that hotter weather increases both suicide rates and the use of depressive language on social media”, but it never explains if the relationship they found between climate change/suicide is correlation or causation.

        My gut reaction is that there is some causation between climate change/suicide, I’m just not seeing it in the info presented. And I’m skeptical of research analysis of depressive language based on Twitter activity. Let me know if I missed something. I think it is an interesting topic though.

        • I provided a link to the study which is a token for a complimentary copy. You can’t download it though. Must be viewed online.

          • The Resistance

            Thank you for that. I can view it now. Although I read the study, and I suspect that their conclusion is probably more or less correct, I am still wary of their methods.

            Specifically, using a large quantity of a narrow sample group that only includes tweeted language, makes it an easy target for those who are skeptical of the negative effects of climate change to discount the study as social media based junk science.

            I applaud their effort, and find the subject interesting, but wish they had used more than social media activity as the foundation for their study.

            Since I’m no scientist I’d be interested in knowing what the reaction has been of their peers.

          • RBHolb

            It’s a pretty recent study, but I couldn’t find anything negative from real scientists.

            I did find another study done by another team: Associations between high ambient temperatures and heat waves with mental health outcomes: a systematic review, to be published in Public Health this fall.

            From the Abstract: “High ambient temperatures have a range of mental health effects. The strongest evidence was found for increased suicide risk.”

    • AL287

      Maybe you should read the study that asserts excessive heat slows your decision making.

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/warm-weather-makes-it-hard-think-straight/

      • Erik Petersen

        There are no dubious externalities of climate change to challenge there. Merely a matter of winter / summer.

    • RBHolb

      From the Stanford news release on the study:

      “The authors stress that rising temperature and climate change should not be viewed as direct motivations for suicide. Instead, they point out that temperature and climate may increase the risk of suicide by affecting the likelihood that an individual situation leads to an attempt at self-harm.”

      Of course, it’s all a Chinese hoax, so what the heck.

  • jon

    it’s interesting that the link to temperature and suicide is linear…

    I would have thought parabolic…

    I would have guessed around 50-70F suicides would have been the lowest, while at the more extreme ends of the thermometer it would have been higher…

    But the graphic below only goes down to -20C (-4F)….

    https://news-media.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/18145819/USMexRobust_v2_TwoPanel.jpg

    • jon

      also while I’m pondering these particular charts, anyone know what the market penetration for AC is like in mexico? would prevalence explain the different slopes between the US and mexico? Does a robust HVAC lower suicide risk?

      • RBHolb

        According to the study, air conditioning doesn’t seem to matter.

        “For example, the effects in Texas are some of the highest in the country. Suicide rates have not declined over recent decades, even with the introduction and wide adaptation of air conditioning. If anything, the researchers say, the effect has grown stronger over time.”

        • Jerry

          I wonder if rising temps plus AC leads to a Cabin Fever-like effect in warm states, where everybody stays indoors and isolated.

          • jon

            I was thinking that too… but then I would expect the parabolic graph or at least a hockey stick with a upward tick in colder temperatures as people stay indoors in the cold… and while -20C (-7f) might not be terrible cold in minnesota, in lots of the county people feel that’s really cold…

          • Minnesotan: “-20? Hmm, could be worse, but maybe I’ll wear a coat today anyway.”

          • Kassie

            We like to think we are tough. But when the temp hits -20 most of my office stays home and telecommutes.

        • Rob

          Did most of the people in the study in Texas have air conditioning? Availability is one thing, possession is a whole ‘nother animal.

  • Jeff

    Also, it’s a good day to be depressed about the climate. Perusing the paper there’s the record heat in Japan killing people, the wildfires in Greece killing people, dead wild horses from record drought in the West, 90’s above the Arctic Circle, record heat in England.

    I’m not sure I’ll still be around when the Republicans eventually say “oops, guess we were wrong in the early 20th century when we could have done something”. I always like the irony that being on the wrong side of history has no consequences. It never undoes the suffering or damage. We all suffer because of their intransigence, willful ignorance, and stupidity.

    • Kellpa07

      It’s already too late. Unless you think Al Gore was lying.

      • Jeff

        It’s probably too late for our version of Earth, but by acting now it’s a Earth that’s mostly inhabitable versus one where much larger portions aren’t with attendant conflicts, chaos, die-offs, gloom and doom.

        From what I read the only way to get there is carbon sequestration, we’re past the point where zero emissions will keep CO2 at a reasonable level.

  • KTFoley

    I intend to read the whole study. These are the questions that come to mind as I dive in:
    – Are twitter users a truly representative demographic sample? How is the sampling method calibrated to account for age, occupation, access to technology, or other factors that may not be equally present in the data pool?
    – Is there a mechanism to differentiate locations in hot climates from locations that are more affected by climate change?
    – How is a “monthly rise in temperature of 1 degree Celsius” applied to differentiate seasonal change from climate change?

    • The research only used social media as one data source. Historical records were also used to examine correlation. Projections based on climate research are also used to suggest trends, but note that they also suggest that hotter temps are not the only factor, to wit: “Hotter temperatures are clearly not the only, nor the most important, risk factor for suicide,” Burke emphasized. “But our findings suggest that warming can have a surprisingly large impact on suicide risk, and this matters for both our understanding of mental health as well as for what we should expect as temperatures continue to warm.”

      It seems to me that one could try to split all kinds of hairs in developing arguments why the study might be flawed, but to this former police officer it is obvious that hotter days and nights beget more violence, mischief, and – yes – crazy behavior. I’m glad someone is finally taking it seriously as a way to understand what is happening around us.

      • KTFoley

        We differ on whether those sorts of questions are splitting hairs, and whether keeping relevant questions in mind while reading the study is equivalent to arguing that the study is flawed.

      • KTFoley

        I’m not disputing the correlation between hotter days and more violence in the same location — the seasonal variation has been noted in anecdotes and in research for a while now. Some of the hypotheses consider that in warm weather people leave their homes more, cross paths with more people, and are more irritable so those encounters are more likely to escalate to bad outcomes.

        But you must know that escalating to violence is a different dynamic from turning to suicide.

        • Indeed. But observation and correlation is how good science begins, is it not? Bacteria don’t grow in the presence of this certain mold – I wonder why? The apple falls from the tree, and we base our engineering on it without knowing the complete relationship between gravity and space-time. Penicillin, in use since the 1940s, is still not completely understood.

          This study aims to expand our understanding of a correlation, moving it beyond anecdotes and localities. For the study results to be useful in terms of projection into the future, causation need not be proven beyond a doubt. So too with taking action. Nothing would ever get done if every phenomenon upon which we might act had to be nailed down with absolute certainty. Even correlations are expressed in degrees of certainty along a curve against a mean.

          To my thinking, it is useful for policy makers to know and be able to plan for the trend to warmer temperatures. That includes the prevention of suicides.

  • Sonny T

    Another laughably conceived and executed study from university eggheads, probably with government money. None of their data can support their conclusions. The whole thing is speculative.

    This is a good one: “…they turned to Twitter, where they analyzed ‘nearly a billion tweets,’ says Burke.”

    If a person devoted one second to each tweet, 24 hours a day, year ’round, it would take 30 years to get to a billion. They analyzed a billion tweets? Yeah, right.

    • Did you read the study?

      • Sonny T

        I’m quoting from your article.

        • So you didn’t read the study but concluded that it’s laughably conceived and executed. And that the whole thing is speculative.

          Wouldn’t you have to read the study, understand the conception, and read the methodology to be able to render an informed judgement on any of those three things?

          • Sonny T

            No. I’m the same as Frank, above. I know a silly, politically motivated study when I see one. The whole “billion” thing proves it.

            By the way, I’m all in on global warming. This just doesn’t help us. Hannity will probably run it tonight.

          • But you didn’t see one. You didn’t like the hypothesis and you were predisposed to a particular opinion, so you adopted that as a fact in the absence of looking at the data.

            That’s fine if that’s your thing. But it’s important to recognize that your thing is not an attempt to be informed or test your own biases, but to create a reality based on those biases. The liklihood is that your disinterest in evaluating data is impacting your reality in a number of other areas, too.

          • Sonny T

            When you lie to me you lose me. Referring to the whole billion thing.

          • 622,749,655 actually.

            You’re saying they didn’t because they couldn’t and therefore they lied to you.

            But you didn’t investigate to see if they could or did.

            What you’re doing isn’t unusual. It’s the method by which our entire democracy has come to the precipice . It’s not unique to conservatives or liberals. It may not even be unique to Americans, but disinterest in knowledge and data to form informed opinion is frightening nonetheless.

          • Sonny T

            Yes, we’re speculating here and hopefully having a little fun. I don’t think it will bring down democracy 🙂

            We could have a silly university study contest and come up with sillier things. But not much.

          • The lack of curiosity in Americans that leads to disinterest in being informed and then forming a conclusion and/or opinion is very much a threat to our democracy. We see it every day. It’s the very foundation of the Russia’s attempts to influence elections. They know that Americans will gladly accept as reality whatever they’re told as long as it is what they want to believe.

            They’re disinterested in facts even as they say just the facts are what they want. It’s the underpinning of our polarized society.

            It’s what enables Americans to be ignorant and uninformed.

          • Sonny T

            But I don’t think it’s ignorant and uninformed to say, on first glance, that this study and it’s conclusions are silly. On first glance.

            I mean, everyone gets crabby when it’s hot. Not enough to jump though 🙂

          • Your second sentence completely disproves your first sentence.

          • Postal Customer

            “We could have a silly university study contest and come up with sillier things. But not much.”

            Remember when Galileo was sentenced to prison because the earth wasn’t the center of the universe?

          • Frank

            I doubt many people reading this story have the expertise to understand the methodology well enough to make an informed judgement. I know I dont.

            Instead, I went to the Google to see what peers have had to say about this and other studies they’ve done.

            I’m calling my method metaresearch to make it sciency.

          • RBHolb

            How are you going to judge whether what the researchers’ peers are saying is valid? How will you even conclude they are “peers?”

            Sean Hannity, BTW, is not a “peer.”

          • Frank

            I can read a CV. I can read lists of published papers. I can read the peer reviews and critiques.

            I can also do math, really well. And I can see what these guys have been doing adds up to some serious grant mining.

            My sciency metaresearch isn’t as tough as it sounds. But if you’re going to Sean Hannity, you’re doing it wrong.

          • RBHolb

            “And I can see what these guys have been doing adds up to some serious grant mining.”

            Unless you’re doing math faster than I can, it sounds to me like you’ve made up your mind before troubling to do the “metaresearch.”

          • Frank

            It’s probable that I can do math faster, but somehow I doubt you even bothered to look.

          • Kellpa07

            I find it funny how often when a commenter on this blog drifts away from the general consensus of Bob and the commenters, the responses very quickly go to “Hannity/Fox news. That is a strong indication that you lack a well thought out response and that you’re largely unaware of anything outside your bubble.

          • RBHolb

            That’s a strong indication that I’ve been through this type of discussion before, and can tell where the source of the drift is.

            What, may I ask, do you mean by “bubble?” I don’t pretend to be a climate scientist, but my own education included more science and math than most non-experts would have. It’s been plain to me that global warming “skeptics” just don’t like what they hear, and resort to specious nonsense about grants and general dislike for the educated. Thanks, but that’s a bubble I don’t need to join.

    • Frank

      (UC Berkely)

    • Postal Customer

      “If a person devoted one second to each tweet, 24 hours a day, year ’round, it would take 30 years to get to a billion. They analyzed a billion tweets? Yeah, right.”

      Umm, you can write software to analyze language. It’s happening now. They didn’t pick thru these one by one.

      Also, it’s not magic.

      • Sonny T

        If a computer can analyze a tweet and render a reliable conclusion on that person’s mental health status, then AI is a lot further along than I thought.

        • Postal Customer

          “AI is a lot further along than I thought.”

          Yup.

        • AI has nothing to do with it. It’s simple data mining.

          http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0194317

          • Postal Customer

            It goes well beyond simply mining the data via their public API. That’s the easy part.

            The harder part is that they use machine learning to classify the tweets.

        • RBHolb

          Except no one (as far as I know) is saying that AI is analyzing a person’s mental health status. It is, however, capable of picking out language that can be indicative of a person’s mental state.

          • Sonny T

            It can tell if suicidal?

          • RBHolb

            If properly set up, it can pick out phrases like “I want to die.”

          • If you read the section on their analysis, you’ll see they were mining the instances of depressive language.

    • I’m curious: Do you call a plumber when you need your roof repaired? I always wonder when people make dismissive comments about academics who (after all) are specialists working in their fields. It’s a time-honored tradition among the ill-informed to express distrust of academia.

      • Frank

        “It’s a time-honored tradition among the ill-informed to express distrust of academia.”

        That’s not true at all. People used to take scientists at their word. It was AGW pseudoscience that has cast doubt, and that only recently.

        Guys like Mann and his co-conspirators at East Anglia traded the credibility of their profession for a few pieces of silver.

        • Jeff

          Mann was exonerated and the email controversy widely dismissed as denier propaganda.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

          Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.[15] The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged throughout the investigations.[16]

          • Frank

            Oh. Well, if Wikipedia says so, ok then.

          • Jared

            Responding to evidence showing that the claims you’re making were disproved over 5 years ago with “Lol. Sure.” is pretty ironic when you’re trying to disagree with the statement “It’s a time-honored tradition among the ill-informed to express distrust of academia.”

          • Frank

            Wikipedia

            When it’s not worth wasting time proving.

          • Jared

            Click the link and view the sources, they’re legitimate and it takes all of 5 minutes. Or are the baseless claims with no sources you make better?

          • RBHolb

            Jared, it’s called “metaresearch.” If you don’t like what people tell you, just LOL.

            The National Science Foundation also cleared Professor Mann (“Lol. Sure.”). A committee of the House of Commons exonerated the UEA (“Fake news!”). Nothing like that matters to the anti-science crowd, who will jump on a few isolated words to show that it’s not a “real” exoneration.

          • Frank

            Hey now! Respect the metaresearch!
            It’s sciency af.

            You keep it up and the internet will never notice it forgot to give me my PhD on everything like everyone else.

          • Jared

            I know, I usually try not to feed the trolls but Patrick’s comment of “It’s a time-honored tradition among the ill-informed to express distrust of academia.” being proven just three comments down is just something else.

          • Frank

            proven

            Another butt kicked by Wikipedia.

            Wiki is a real life internet superhero.

          • Frank

            No. We’ve been down this road a 100 times. Mann remains discredited. But you and Penn state still believe. That’s ok; believe.

          • Jared

            Me, Penn State, and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (UK), Independent Climate Change Review (UK), International Science Assessment Panel (UK), EPA (US), Department of Commerce (US) and NSF (US). If you refuse to trust those groups then you don’t trust academia. That’s fine, but don’t act like you’re the academic and it’s just Penn State covering their backs, that’s a pretty wide consensus.

          • Frank

            So, you, Penn State and a bunch of government bureaucrats and givernment research grantees.

            I see where a guy could get pretty convinced with that line up.

            Carry on.

          • RBHolb

            Just out of curiosity Frank: Who would be sufficiently unbiased and authoritative to convince you?

          • Frank

            When there is someone, anyone can prove a theory, and have the results repeated by a third party using the same method I’ll buy it.

            Heck, the warming cabal could start by releasing the source code for the program they’re using for their models. But they won’t, because, and I quote “it would be used by deniers to discredit the research.”

            Smh

            Snake oil salesman would never tell you the ingredients of their tonics either.

          • RBHolb

            If you went beyond “what Google says,” you would see that the scientific articles discussing global warming do discuss their methodologies in great detail (check Google Scholar). That’s required by peer review.

            Of course, that doesn’t do anything to discredit the secret Bolshevik plot to make us all ride buses (Honestly, when Soucheray said that about light rail, I thought he was joking. Surely, even he couldn’t have been that, shall we say, iconoclastic).

          • Frank

            They will discuss their methodologies, but you can’t inspect the tools they use, because you might laugh at them.

            No real scientist does that.
            You asked who I would believe, and I answered. You didn’t like that answer because no one can meet my measure, which BTW, is the measure acknowledged to be the scientific method. Proof; repeat.

            Ya know, for a lefty you don’t seem to know much about the history of the left.

            http://www.china.org.cn/english/China/194808.htm

            https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/NKBrief%252810-11-01-1%2529.pdf

          • RBHolb

            “They will discuss their methodologies, but you can’t inspect the tools they use, because you might laugh at them.”

            Their methodologies are their “tools.” Do you know what scientists do, Frank?

            Trotting out articles about China and North Korea tells me a lot, but probably not what you think it does.

          • Frank

            The methodology is the way in which they use their tools.

            In the case of software, you have to look at the source code to know what is going on. Remember the lawsuits that forced the makers of intoxilizer machines to release the source code? Samey same.

            I happen to write code for a very generous living; pretty good at it.

            This crew refuses because they are afraid they’ll be laughed at…said so in as many words.

            If they were legit scientists, they’d *want* their program to be vetted by as many people as possible.

            But these guys are not legit.

            Lefty regimes restricting the use of private conveyance, I know, awkward right?

          • JamieHX

            Climate change deniers and Right Wing make-their-own- truthers will always be able to make up ways in which the code (or the facts) that support anything they don’t like are flawed or bad. They’re really good at it, have been for a long time. Really good at marketing of the kind that makes lies sound like truth, that tears down just and honorable people and their good-work efforts.
            (And now, with #45, we see that that kind of slick, devious marketing isn’t even always needed. His followers will believe anything the crude bumbler spills forth. But the slick stuff is still happening too.)

          • Jared

            Yeah, research grantees aka academia aren’t trustworthy, proven by “Lol. Sure.” and no circular logic. https//i.imgur.com/HuWFBTe_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium

          • Frank

            Don’t meme me, bro. You win.

          • Jeff

            They’re good scientists, Fred.

          • Kellpa07

            “University clears itself of misconduct charges. ”

            News at 11.

          • Frank

            That’s exactly what happened.

          • Sonny T

            Not sure what you guys are arguing about, but is there any question that scientists can and have been in kahoots with those who fund their studies?

          • Jeff

            Care to provide any evidence? (Seems like I’ve had this discussion before.)

          • Sonny T

            Really? You’re doubting it? Google industry influence on science or some other iteration and there’s endless examples

          • Jeff

            Yes, now I remember. You make a statement of fact without proof and then tell me to research it.

          • Sonny T
          • RBHolb

            The food industry had an impact on nutrition research. That proves that [insert name here–George Soros?] influenced climate research by giving out grants.

            Got it.

          • Sonny T

            Like I said, I really don’t know what the argument is. Scientists are humans, and prone to influence as anyone. The bottom line is be aware of who wants what, and don’t make decisions based on titles. That’s actually a flaw in reasoning, I believe it’s referred to as Appeal to Authority or some such

          • RBHolb

            Okay, let’s run with your premise. Who is funding climate research? Isn’t most of it underwritten by government sources? Why would the government of a modern industrial nation be interested in pushing the idea that the use of fossil fuels is destructive?

            As they used to say in criminal law class, “Cui bono?”

          • Sonny T

            No one’s saying all research is flawed. Just be aware who wants what.

          • RBHolb

            Again, knowing who funds it leads to the question “So what?” What does NASA “want” out of climate research?

          • Frank

            Funding.

          • RBHolb

            So NASA is funding climate research in order to get more funding?

            “Sure,” he said, backing away slowly. “That makes perfect sense.”

          • Frank

            Yeah, its not like there are private companies out there taking away their reason to exist.

            Crazy talk.

          • Frank

            “Why would the leftist government of a modern industrial nation be interested in pushing the idea that the use of fossil fuels is destructive?”

            FTFY

            They want to limit the mobility of their populations to transit options they control.

            It’s control, as usual.

          • Jerry

            Only believe studies payed for by energy companies, not those payed for by the government.

          • Rob

            Is that why the Green Line has such a large ridership?

          • Frank

            It’s why the Green Line exists.

          • Jeff

            Ok, thanks. I don’t think you can make the leap that all scientists are crooked.

  • Rob

    I’d be willing to bet that the incidence of suicide among Twitterers with access to air conditioning, shows no correlation to global warming.

  • Frank

    Google says the two Stanford authors that contributed to this report, Burke and Heft-Neal, have spent the last few years linking global warming to civil wars in Africa, and the Syrian conflict. Seems like “Hey, suicide!…why not, right?”

    I’m not going to comment on their methods because when the internet was handing out PhD’s to everyone else, I was somewhere else; burning fossil fuel, probably.

    But their peers have been pretty harsh, and the thing I noticed is every time they’re questioned, they say “We’re not saying global warming caused _____. We’re saying it might have contributed. Whether it was a primary factor is impossible to know.”

    Yeah well, I would probably have won the lottery by now if I’d ever have bought a ticket, but we’ll never know for sure.

    • RBHolb

      “Google says the two Stanford authors that contributed to this report, Burke and Heft-Neal, have spent the last few years linking global warming to civil wars in Africa, and the Syrian conflict. ”

      Reading the studies and going beyond the excerpt provided by Google shows that the authors draw a connection between disruptions in agricultural production caused by global warming and political instability. Of course, it gets bigger laughs to put it your way.

      The US Defense Department used to say that global warming posed a threat to national security. That, however, was before it was revealed to be a Chinese hoax.

      • KTFoley

        “The US Defense Department used to say that global warming posed a threat to national security.”

        I’m thinking the next wars will be fought over water. Not so much for maritime resources like sea trade or fishing rights, but water for drinking, grazing, and growing. The situation with Israel controlling Palestine’s access to water is delicate enough. Global warming could be the disruption that pushes some already-marginal areas to desperate situations.

      • Frank

        No, that was before all of Obama’s yes men were retired and replaced.

        So, you read all those studies? Did you read the peer reviews? There is nothing amiss with the way I put it. They want to link global warming and the Syrian war. The fact that they use weasel words throughout should be a clue, if you read what they said.

        Here’s a pro tip. Check out the grants they’ve accumulated in the past 3 years.

    • Alas, everything in life – and science – cannot be cut and dry. Absolute certainty, however, seems to become the standard of proof when certain partisans underwritten by big carbon remind us that “…not all scientists agree…”.

      So do you dispute the correlation between suicides and warmer temperatures? Or are you simply stating that the authors have no authority to speculate on causalities, even though they are not claiming certainties?

      • Frank

        Yes Pat. I’m disputing the correlation. Heck, they walk it back themselves every time they’re pressed. Read some of their interviews.

        “Maybe; could; might be a factor”
        That’s not science, it’s pure speculation, and not very convincing.

        I don’t think these guys are dedicated warming pseudoscientists of Mann caliber. I think they are just willing to do whatever the grant giver wants.

    • // Google says

      Google is a search engine. Presumably something or somebody else was doing the “saying”.

  • JamieHX

    Wow. There were 59 comments here at lunchtime when I looked. It’s more than doubled now. Bob, have you ever done any kind of analysis on what kinds of posts garner the most comments?

    • A bunch of posts from the same people as most other posts – one of whom is a new name for someone who lost posting privileges a year ago under another single name — isn’t data I find interesting, useful, or worth my valuable time.