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​Marshall Burke: The impact of climate change on human behavior

​Obscured behind the better-known impacts of climate change are a host of potentially more serious effects global leaders have yet to reckon with.

Two figurine men in suits facing away from each other

It’s plausible that increases in temperature could lead to more human conflict. | Adobe Stock/kelly marken

While climate change is likely to bring rising sea levels, more frequent and stronger storms, as well as vanishing glaciers and coral reefs, experts say there are other lurking impacts that could have a more lasting effect on human behavior and health.

Marshall Burke is a professor of Earth System Science and a fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies who says that recent research shows rising global temperatures will lead to more wars, higher crime rates and greater infant mortality.

On a positive note, he points out that such predictions are starting to seep into cost-benefit calculations and that present-day mitigation could be felt sooner and more deeply than presently thought. Burke says that, in the new math of climate change, the benefits of investment vastly exceed the costs, but we must act soon.

You can listen to the Future of Everything on iTunes, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher or via Stanford Engineering Magazine.