Human-Climate Dynamics in the Anthropocene: The Connection Between Climate Extremes and Social Unrest | CAS Inquire
Regina Werum of the Department of Sociology gave this talk on Nov. 1 for CAS Inquire.
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- [00:00:03.000]Good evening. I'm Dr.
- [00:00:04.680]Taylor Livingston,
- [00:00:05.680]the director of the College of Arts
and Sciences Inquire Program.
- [00:00:09.280]Thank you all for coming tonight.
- [00:00:10.720]In-person and via Zoom to this semester's
final installment of this year's Inquire
- [00:00:16.840]themed series, Searching for Common Ground
in an Increasingly Polarized World.
- [00:00:22.200]The Inquire program,
structured around these lectures
- [00:00:25.280]allows students, faculty, staff
and the wider public
- [00:00:29.320]the opportunity to investigate
how we as individuals
- [00:00:33.000]and as a society understand
- [00:00:37.840]Additionally, it creates opportunity
to learn about the fascinating research
- [00:00:42.520]conducted by faculty members
in the College of Arts and Sciences
- [00:00:46.800]and enable students to see the various
- [00:00:51.880]on the study of a topic
and as well as the necessary multi
- [00:00:57.120]trends and interdisciplinarity
that is required
- [00:01:01.680]to understand human
thoughts, beliefs, actions.
- [00:01:06.720]Tonight's lecture Human Climate Dynamics
in the Anthropocene
- [00:01:10.560]The Connection Between Climate Extremes
and Social Unrest by Dr.
- [00:01:14.320]Regina Werum, professor of sociology,
explores the unintended consequences
- [00:01:19.480]of social unrest
resulting from global climate change .
- [00:01:23.320]Dr. Werum scholarly interests
- [00:01:25.080]center on the causes and consequences
of social inequities.
- [00:01:29.680]Her research has been supported
by numerous prestigious organizations,
- [00:01:34.280]including the National Science Foundation,
the US Department of Defense,
- [00:01:38.800]the National Endowment
for the Humanities, and the Kathryn
- [00:01:42.160]and John D MacArthur Foundation.
- [00:01:45.040]She previously served as an associate
vice chancellor for research at UNL
- [00:01:49.480]and was a program director
for the National Science Foundation.
- [00:01:53.480]After her lecture, Dr.
- [00:01:55.120]Werum will take questions
from the audience.
- [00:01:57.240]So Ethan will circulate from the mike.
- [00:02:00.040]If you're in person and you have a
question, just raise your hand.
- [00:02:02.920]If you are via Zoom,
just put your questions in the Q&A
- [00:02:07.480]and I'll ask them on your behalf.
- [00:02:09.640]So please join me in welcoming Dr. Werum.
- [00:02:18.200]Good morning. Good evening, everyone.
- [00:02:23.960]I'd like to first of all,
thank the College of Arts and Sciences
- [00:02:27.560]and the university for inviting me
to give this public lecture.
- [00:02:30.760]Thank you to everyone
who has made it possible.
- [00:02:33.320]Starting, of course, with the...
- [00:02:35.280]Dr. Livingston, and the college's tech
admin and marketing staff.
- [00:02:43.320]Boundless gratitude,
first of all, goes to my colleagues Dr.
- [00:02:46.760]Sean Radford, my research
assistants, Daniel Shafer,
- [00:02:50.320]and of course, my computer
and climate science collaborators, Dr.
- [00:02:54.080]Pais Joshi, Amal.
- [00:02:55.440]And so who've allowed me to bounce
- [00:02:57.240]off these ideas long
before they congealed into this talk.
- [00:03:00.960]This is an unusual context for me.
- [00:03:03.440]I'm standing in a sparsely populated.
- [00:03:07.240]Cavernous auditorium,
and I can't see or read my audience.
- [00:03:11.560]You know, students know that my lectures
tend to be super interactive.
- [00:03:15.800]So as a teacher,
this is super awkward, right?
- [00:03:19.200]So to make it less so,
I'm going to make several assumptions
- [00:03:21.720]about my seen and unseen audience.
- [00:03:25.120]I assume that curiosity moves you.
- [00:03:28.360]Why else would you attend
an evening lecture of your own volition?
- [00:03:32.480]I assume that you take
- [00:03:33.840]science data evidence seriously.
- [00:03:37.880]So let's geek out.
- [00:03:40.480]I assume that you have a little patience
for false dichotomy.
- [00:03:43.720]It's like science versus faith
or science versus politics.
- [00:03:47.920]We can handle complexity.
- [00:03:50.640]And you're willing to hear me out and
then ask tough questions during the Q&A.
- [00:03:55.000]Don't be surprised, though,
if my answer is I don't know.
- [00:03:57.640]What do you think
and how do you know that?
- [00:04:01.680]Today's Cars Crier Lecture has a title
that contains not just one
- [00:04:05.520]but two red button issues
climate change and social unrest.
- [00:04:11.440]Following my colleague, Dr.
- [00:04:12.680]Julie Slick's advice. Let's lean in.
- [00:04:16.440]If we have a cross section
of Nebraskans here tonight,
- [00:04:20.200]chances are some of you are convinced
that climate change is not real.
- [00:04:25.640]Others are convinced it's real,
- [00:04:27.040]but remain skeptical
about the role of humans in causing it.
- [00:04:31.800]And yet others consider
the connection between
- [00:04:34.640]human activity and climate change
- [00:04:38.520]Either way, you're likely
to invoke a mix of personal experiences,
- [00:04:42.040]perceptions and common sense.
- [00:04:44.040]So what's the point
of attending this lecture?
- [00:04:47.920]Well, one of the contributions
all scientists provide is that we make
- [00:04:51.880]the invisible visible
- [00:04:55.080]by revealing hidden
layers, connections and dynamics.
- [00:04:58.360]And in the process, we often end up
challenging common sense.
- [00:05:01.760]I do hope to do some of that tonight.
- [00:05:05.120]Just to be clear, this is not a lecture
on the environmental movement,
- [00:05:08.640]nor on protests specifically
associated with it.
- [00:05:12.920]Instead, today's focus will be on
how climate change
- [00:05:15.600]and the extremes associated with it
directly and indirectly affect protests.
- [00:05:20.360]It's my goal to show you the benefits
of integrating studies and evidence
- [00:05:24.920]from multiple scientific fields
to answer big questions along the way.
- [00:05:29.320]You'll also learn or revisit some
foundational scientific concepts. Ready?
- [00:05:36.400]All right. So scientists always start
- [00:05:38.840]with concepts and definitions
before they get into data.
- [00:05:41.920]You already saw that with the octopus type
- [00:05:45.080]and I am no different.
- [00:05:50.160]That was Mr. Sleight already. Look at me.
- [00:05:53.280]All right, so let's start
with the easy thing.
- [00:05:55.000]What's the Anthropocene?
- [00:05:56.680]It's commonly defined as the period during
which human activity has been
- [00:06:00.440]the dominant influence on Earth's climate
and the environment.
- [00:06:04.160]Some date the start of that era
- [00:06:06.200]to the atomic or post-World War Two era,
when evidence of human
- [00:06:09.920]caused climate change was first
hypothesized and tracked by scientists.
- [00:06:14.560]Others say at the start of this era,
with the industrial revolution
- [00:06:18.120]in the mid 17th, early 1800s.
- [00:06:21.360]Either way, we're in the middle of it.
- [00:06:25.680]So how do we define
climate and climate extremes?
- [00:06:32.080]For this purpose.
- [00:06:32.800]I conceptualize climate
in terms of temperatures and moisture
- [00:06:37.120]or water, including what I call too much,
too little and the wrong kind.
- [00:06:42.680]I use the term climate extremes
to refer to phenomena that indicate
- [00:06:48.080]highly unusual events and trends.
- [00:06:52.640]Let me show you some examples
of events. First.
- [00:06:58.800]Disastrous events like bombs, cyclones,
wildfires, floods, droughts.
- [00:07:03.400]And yes, it's possible
for areas to experience opposite
- [00:07:07.200]precipitation or temperature
extremes in short order.
- [00:07:10.320]Some call it weather whiplash.
- [00:07:12.320]The one two punch associated with droughts
followed by floods
- [00:07:16.160]around the world this past summer
is a perfect example of it.
- [00:07:19.360]From Kentucky to province in Pakistan.
- [00:07:24.720]Climate extremes can also refer
to historically, historically
- [00:07:29.280]abnormal trends as shown in these graphs.
- [00:07:32.760]Rising temperatures in the past century.
- [00:07:35.800]On your left, rising rainfall
and sea water levels
- [00:07:41.200]ever more frequent and more intense storms
- [00:07:44.240]or wildfire, longer heatwaves.
- [00:07:48.440]So we're talking
about both events and trends.
- [00:07:52.840]Finally, how do we define social unrest?
- [00:07:56.360]This matters because
our definition affects
- [00:07:58.520]whether we think of protests and unrest
as a sign of a vibrant democracy
- [00:08:03.840]or as a sign of deep dysfunctionality
and human misery.
- [00:08:08.040]Let's start with protests,
because they are generally
- [00:08:11.120]the most common form of social unrest.
- [00:08:14.560]Scientists define protest
as a type of organized collective action
- [00:08:20.120]that uses a recognized set of tactics.
- [00:08:23.880]In pursuit of a common goal.
- [00:08:26.640]And often targets either
the government or elites, however defined.
- [00:08:31.040]Protests are often, but not always,
embedded in social movements,
- [00:08:35.640]and as such are sustained.
- [00:08:38.200]That means they tend to diffuse
geographically and reoccur over
- [00:08:41.920]some period. Protests
are overwhelmingly nonviolent.
- [00:08:48.440]When they do involve violent
or destructive acts
- [00:08:51.480]perpetrated by protesters,
they're called riots.
- [00:08:54.760]Those are quite recent.
- [00:08:57.640]But decades of research
show that all things
- [00:08:59.520]equal, riots are far more likely
to receive media coverage,
- [00:09:03.680]which then contributes
to public misunderstandings about protests
- [00:09:07.880]and about social unrest at large.
- [00:09:11.920]When these events involve
- [00:09:17.320]By law enforcement
or other government entities
- [00:09:20.240]like the pictures on your right here.
- [00:09:23.280]There still are protests even,
and especially if they occur
- [00:09:27.400]in politically repressive
or autocratic contexts.
- [00:09:30.840]Just think of the recent protests
in Iran or Russia.
- [00:09:35.800]So are protests a good sign or a bad sign?
- [00:09:41.320]Normally we'd have a discussion
and at the end of it would say it depends.
- [00:09:45.280]Excellent answer.
Like to social scientists.
- [00:09:48.000]Maybe the more helpful question
would be to ask under
- [00:09:51.400]which conditions are protests a good sign,
positive sign, negative signs?
- [00:09:57.600]Social scientists
can tell us a lot about that.
- [00:10:00.040]Mind you, back when our field
was in its infancy,
- [00:10:02.760]it was quite common to view protests
as a sign of individual
- [00:10:06.600]pathology, criminality, irrationality,
or to view protests as
- [00:10:12.120]spontaneous eruptions
of uncontrolled collective
- [00:10:15.760]rage due to longstanding, real
or perceived grievances.
- [00:10:19.840]But for almost a century now,
social scientists have tried to explain
- [00:10:23.960]to the public that protests are
potentially a positive sign.
- [00:10:27.960]Protest followed similar
- [00:10:29.000]patterns and are more likely to occur
under certain conditions.
- [00:10:32.120]In fact, it's become a truism
to point out that population density urban
- [00:10:37.080]the city is a driving factor
behind levels of unrest broadly defined.
- [00:10:43.080]And since the 1960s, we've
also learned a lot
- [00:10:46.280]about additional conditions
that shape protests.
- [00:10:50.440]These include political
the political environment.
- [00:10:53.320]How free and democratic is your society?
- [00:10:57.080]How trusted are your institutions?
- [00:10:59.600]Just think at the track Dr.
- [00:11:01.040]Chris Moore gave last month.
- [00:11:03.440]Economic conditions, unemployment,
inflation, quality of life issues.
- [00:11:08.200]Access to food. Water.
- [00:11:10.520]Housing. Public safety. Health.
- [00:11:14.080]Since then the sixties, generations
- [00:11:16.920]of social scientists have described
the so-called inverted yield curve.
- [00:11:21.760]It's been used to explain
many forms of unrest and appears
- [00:11:25.760]particularly appropriate
to explain protests.
- [00:11:29.600]So what I'm showing you
here is a recent example of
- [00:11:32.320]this inverted yield curve, a study done by
- [00:11:37.400]Meridian, Texas,
- [00:11:38.960]and it shows women's protests
around the world
- [00:11:42.480]between 1991 and 2009.
- [00:11:46.000]And it shows needs to be related
- [00:11:48.640]to a set of political dynamics
that I would explain.
- [00:11:51.480]Essentially, this inverted curve
means that protests are most likely
- [00:11:57.120]to occur under two conditions.
- [00:11:58.880]First one, in societies that are neither
- [00:12:02.800]entirely totally democratic and inclusive,
- [00:12:06.160]because if they are, there's
arguably little reason to protest,
- [00:12:10.280]nor are they repressive or autocratic,
- [00:12:13.960]in which case the government
tends to repress them.
- [00:12:18.320]This means that at least in societies
with functioning governments
- [00:12:21.280]that foster political participation,
protests are generally a good sign.
- [00:12:26.480]Much of our research
has focused on such situations,
- [00:12:29.840]and this fits protest waves
in many countries.
- [00:12:33.440]The second set of conditions
is that protests are more likely whenever
- [00:12:36.840]societies experience drastic change
or volatility in political conditions.
- [00:12:42.080]In that case, protest
can be a positive or a negative sign.
- [00:12:46.200]A lot of research has focused
on such situations to think
- [00:12:50.600]South Africa anti-apartheid
protests in the 1970s.
- [00:12:55.800]From autocratic to
becoming more democratic
- [00:12:58.520]and more recent protest
waves around housing shortages
- [00:13:01.120]and government corruption,
erosion of democratic principles.
- [00:13:05.400]Think Arab Spring and its ripple effects
in the 20 tens or the protests
- [00:13:09.600]in Hong Kong since 2019.
- [00:13:13.720]So what do we know about.
- [00:13:17.680]Global and regional trends
regarding protests in recent decades.
- [00:13:22.080]This is just one example.
- [00:13:24.880]This is a screenshot
basically from a recent report
- [00:13:29.440]issued by the Center for Strategic
and International Studies in you.
- [00:13:32.760]They've been following protest trends
since the 1960s themselves.
- [00:13:36.600]And this is from their most recent report.
- [00:13:38.680]They analyzed media reports of protests
using a database called Gedo.
- [00:13:43.560]I can explain later what that stands for.
- [00:13:45.520]The summary slide here includes
all sorts of protests around the world
- [00:13:49.760]classified by region or continent.
- [00:13:53.120]And these protests include issues
seemingly unrelated to climate change,
- [00:13:57.680]human rights for minorities,
women, the poor,
- [00:14:00.920]for housing, for food, for water,
for democracy and against corruption.
- [00:14:06.280]And as you can see,
there is a clear upward trend
- [00:14:09.600]in the number of protests
in the past two decades.
- [00:14:14.000]So what does climate
- [00:14:15.640]have to do with any of this?
- [00:14:19.360]What you see here are two sets of slides.
- [00:14:21.600]On the left, you see
- [00:14:24.280]Globally, the first century.
- [00:14:26.000]Perhaps. Century
- [00:14:30.960]and heatwaves on the right
for the US specifically.
- [00:14:33.840]Again, these are just examples.
- [00:14:36.280]This is a slide from the
No and EPA website.
- [00:14:39.400]It illustrates what we know
about precipitation trends and heatwaves
- [00:14:42.400]based on satellite and historical data
over the past century.
- [00:14:47.320]On the left here,
the world as a whole has been getting
- [00:14:51.440]whether there have been
have been fewer dry years.
- [00:14:56.040]But if dry, extremely dry
and more wet years
- [00:15:00.920]and if so, extremely wet
in recent decades.
- [00:15:05.640]And if you look at the charts
on the right, in the US alone,
- [00:15:08.320]heatwaves are becoming both
more frequent and longer and more intense.
- [00:15:15.880]It's no longer controversial
to suggest that climate extremes
- [00:15:20.040]and the long term trends
associated with it
- [00:15:22.800]are related to social unrest,
especially conflict over water.
- [00:15:26.880]Like I said, too much for the wrong kind
- [00:15:28.960]have been associated
with political instability and protests.
- [00:15:32.680]For instance, sustained droughts
in Western Asia from Iran over Syria
- [00:15:36.480]to Lebanon, in Eastern Africa,
from Sudan and Ethiopia to Yemen.
- [00:15:42.360]They've all been linked
to political instability,
- [00:15:44.440]even civil and international wars.
- [00:15:47.440]Elsewhere, rising sea water levels
have been linked to protests like
- [00:15:50.920]consolidation, and catastrophic
floods caused by heavy
- [00:15:54.760]or unusual precipitation
have been linked to unrest in Asia.
- [00:15:58.800]Am I just picking random
anecdotes here from the news
- [00:16:02.400]or are there real connections?
- [00:16:04.240]Perhaps these climate and unrest
events are simply correlated,
- [00:16:09.240]which means they occur
around the same time,
- [00:16:11.800]but maybe not even in the same context.
- [00:16:15.080]Worse yet, maybe
these links are just spurious.
- [00:16:17.920]That's a term we use
when two phenomena seem to covariate,
- [00:16:22.040]but really a third causal factor
explains the link.
- [00:16:24.800]A common example
- [00:16:25.640]we give is let's say you notice
that ice cream sales are up in the summer.
- [00:16:29.840]So on murder rate.
- [00:16:32.560]They're positively correlated.
- [00:16:35.000]To argue that more people are buying more
ice cream, causes
- [00:16:37.720]more murders is spurious.
- [00:16:39.760]There is a likely third factor
at play here, which is that people are out
- [00:16:43.320]and about interacting
with others in the summer,
- [00:16:45.400]but that increases the potential
for interpersonal conflict.
- [00:16:48.640]But I digress. How do we know
this link is not spurious?
- [00:16:52.360]Well, evidence is the best
- [00:16:55.680]against charges that we're just cherry
picking data and news coverage.
- [00:16:59.160]As scientists, we rely on
systematic data analysis,
- [00:17:02.360]including analysis
conducted by other experts.
- [00:17:05.640]We then try to replicate
those, both literally
- [00:17:08.960]and using other types of data and methods.
- [00:17:11.120]You might have heard folks
describe this process as triangulation.
- [00:17:16.320]It helps us assess
the consistency of our findings
- [00:17:20.040]and build confidence
in how we interpret them.
- [00:17:23.720]So let me talk a bit about research other
scientists have done on the connection
- [00:17:27.000]between climate conditions and unrest.
- [00:17:28.680]And then I'll give you a glimpse
into the research
- [00:17:30.400]my colleagues and I have been doing.
- [00:17:34.880]Not surprisingly.
- [00:17:37.160]I think. Scientists are hotly debating
whether there are links between
- [00:17:42.200]climate and unrest is directly
or indirectly links.
- [00:17:44.960]But even scientists like Sheppard,
who are reluctant to connect the dots
- [00:17:48.680]in ways that suggest a direct link
between climate and protest or unrest
- [00:17:52.960]have no qualms whatsoever
seeing the complex
- [00:17:55.920]and indirect ways in which
climate conditions are related to unrest .
- [00:17:59.320]That's why I find
the conceptual models so useful.
- [00:18:02.120]This model identifies
- [00:18:03.400]four distinct systems
that interact with one another's climate
- [00:18:07.480]natural resources, human security
and social stability.
- [00:18:11.560]It's a concise visual
that captures many studies
- [00:18:14.800]that routinely describe parts
of this complex process.
- [00:18:19.360]Our own team doesn't wade into the direct
versus indirect effects debate,
- [00:18:23.240]but we do test whether actual temperatures
and precipitation levels,
- [00:18:28.280]as well as anomalies in terms of long term
- [00:18:30.880]trends, have a net impact on protests.
- [00:18:34.280]So let me turn to excellent research
on the net impact climate conditions
- [00:18:38.920]have on unrest, as indicated by the links
between the blue and the pink here.
- [00:18:43.840]There's some research that has focused on
long term historical trends.
- [00:18:48.800]Other work has highlighted case studies.
- [00:18:51.600]This includes changes in temperature.
- [00:18:53.760]Those are the best documented.
- [00:18:55.520]They have been linked
to major social upheaval
- [00:18:58.400]even before the Anthropocene in China
more than a thousand years ago
- [00:19:03.000]and repeatedly in the eastern
Mediterranean over the past 6000 years,
- [00:19:07.920]changing temperatures, affected societies
even when climate conditions
- [00:19:12.160]changed regionally. Slowly.
- [00:19:16.360]And affected a relatively small
number of people.
- [00:19:20.360]Think about what it means
when temperatures change globally
- [00:19:23.720]quickly and affect 8 billion people.
- [00:19:29.480]Changes in water
supplies are the other big issue.
- [00:19:31.760]They've also been linked to rare events
- [00:19:33.400]like the decline of ancient empires
and civilizations from Mesopotamia
- [00:19:37.800]over the Arabian Peninsula,
along the Nile River
- [00:19:40.480]in pre-Columbian, South America, and
even in the southwestern United States.
- [00:19:44.440]In contemporary times, natural disasters,
including both droughts and floods,
- [00:19:50.320]have been associated with armed conflicts
in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
- [00:19:54.360]Many studies, including healthy
adults, work that was published in Pinas,
- [00:19:58.440]have linked the increase
in climate volatility,
- [00:20:02.080]especially rising temperatures
and droughts to the events
- [00:20:05.440]we all know as Arab Spring
and the subsequent war in Syria.
- [00:20:12.400]To give you another and
- [00:20:13.880]another example, a meta analysis
by Sandberg and McGill published in
- [00:20:17.520]Science also confirms a direct, positive
causal link between climate conditions
- [00:20:23.400]and a broad range of conflict,
from interpersonal to political.
- [00:20:28.200]Based on 60 primary studies.
- [00:20:30.400]From that looked
at both precipitation and temperature
- [00:20:33.840]effects, Sam and colleagues
found that deviation.
- [00:20:36.840]So not just actual levels
but deviations from average temperatures
- [00:20:41.160]and precipitate precipitation levels
have long been associated with an increase
- [00:20:45.680]in the risk of conflicts
and unrest across the world.
- [00:20:49.840]That could be clear.
- [00:20:50.400]Most empirical studies
have focused on the impacts of droughts
- [00:20:53.800]or extreme dryness and violent unrest.
- [00:20:58.040]So when researchers first started
finding that droughts are linked
- [00:21:01.560]to common forms of unrest like protests.
- [00:21:05.640]It was viewed as highly suspicious.
- [00:21:07.800]Can we extrapolate radical assertion, at
least outside of the social sciences? But.
- [00:21:14.520]Especially since the Arab Spring.
- [00:21:16.280]Evidence showing the direct
and prompt link between
- [00:21:19.000]droughts and protests
has become widely accepted
- [00:21:22.160]and reported so widely that in both policy
and scientific circles,
- [00:21:26.120]we've gone from considering it
a highly questionable assertion
- [00:21:29.920]to the new common sense
in just about two decades.
- [00:21:34.480]Essentially the argument goes
as follows local droughts.
- [00:21:38.240]Caused food crops to fail.
- [00:21:40.360]Rising commodity prices.
- [00:21:42.160]Supply chain issues. Food insecurity.
- [00:21:45.320]Economic impact.
- [00:21:47.440]Aggravates humanitarian conditions,
triggers human displacement,
- [00:21:50.720]people protest or the timeline of this
domino effect varies.
- [00:21:55.080]It's much shorter in countries
less able to stockpile food
- [00:21:58.880]and those dependent on importing staples
that's already arid areas
- [00:22:03.760]like the Middle East and Northern Africa
are likely to experience droughts
- [00:22:07.560]and protests in pretty short order.
- [00:22:10.640]Sounds familiar.
- [00:22:12.000]Intuitive, right?
We've always known this, right?
- [00:22:16.280]Except we haven't.
- [00:22:19.080]So let me pause here
to give this a chance to sink in.
- [00:22:22.640]The ultimate irony
of doing scientific research
- [00:22:25.040]is that at first, both scientists
and their insights are often
- [00:22:29.120]severely questioned
and attacked and dismissed as radical.
- [00:22:33.920]But then eventually, when
scientific insights become common sense,
- [00:22:38.200]science and scientists are questions
attacked and dismissed as irrelevant.
- [00:22:43.320]Quite the occupational hazard.
- [00:22:46.160]But this just motivates
us to work even harder
- [00:22:48.920]to push scientific insights even further.
- [00:22:51.200]And in the process,
we frequently reexamine our own long
- [00:22:54.640]held assumptions, including those
about the role of grievances
- [00:22:57.800]in shaping protests everywhere,
not just in poor countries.
- [00:23:01.720]Remember, we had all but jettisoned
that argument in the 6070s.
- [00:23:07.120]To summarize, over the last 10 minutes
or so, I have told you about research
- [00:23:11.200]conducted by others, and I scripted a bit
from talking specifically about protests
- [00:23:15.720]as the most common form of unrest
for a broader variety of events,
- [00:23:20.520]including relatively rare ones like civil
wars and international conflicts.
- [00:23:24.840]In the process, I've cited the work
of climate scientists, economists,
- [00:23:28.920]anthropologists, archeologists,
political scientists, sociologists.
- [00:23:33.920]It's time to showcase
the work of our team,
- [00:23:36.280]which involves faculty from
Grinnell and the Citadel.
- [00:23:40.320]We work together to integrate data sources
- [00:23:43.200]and methods of analysis for which
each of our disciplines is well known.
- [00:23:47.400]The goal is to try and answer
big questions that none of our fields
- [00:23:50.600]individually would be able
to answer by itself.
- [00:23:54.440]That requires a big data approach.
- [00:23:57.200]When I see some examples. Yes. All right.
- [00:24:03.560]Okay. So general background,
- [00:24:05.840]we've been examining the links
between climate extremes and protest
- [00:24:09.120]in three contiguous countries
Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
- [00:24:14.400]We chose these three countries because
they vary on key known causes of protest,
- [00:24:20.360]economic, political, demographic,
the stuff social scientists do.
- [00:24:24.320]And they also vary
in terms of the levels of protest
- [00:24:27.320]over time and in their exposure
to specific parts of climate extremes.
- [00:24:31.600]So they vary on all the things
that are interesting and curious to us.
- [00:24:36.000]In some of our analysis,
- [00:24:37.440]we look at long term
trends from the 1990s onward.
- [00:24:41.320]In other analysis, we compare patterns
locally, regionally, cross sectional.
- [00:24:45.840]That's this triangulation.
- [00:24:47.200]Let's try it a different way
and see if the story stands.
- [00:24:50.520]Some of our analysis happened
at a really high aggregate levels.
- [00:24:53.480]We use annual data and country level data
- [00:24:56.560]and others are really
what we call granular.
- [00:24:59.360]So shorter time segments and much smaller
- [00:25:04.560]Unlike most unlike most other research
teams, we don't just focus on droughts.
- [00:25:10.400]So far, relatively
few studies have considered
- [00:25:12.720]considered how wet conditions
or heavy precipitation nevermind
- [00:25:17.240]multiple forms of climate extremes
might shape unrest.
- [00:25:21.440]So to address this issue directly.
- [00:25:23.760]Our team focuses on the impact
of abnormal temperatures.
- [00:25:29.800]Both droughts and wet
conditions in this region.
- [00:25:34.960]So if you look at these two slides here.
- [00:25:40.240]You see two relatively simple figures
with three lines each.
- [00:25:44.160]These two figures
show that progress increased in this time
- [00:25:47.320]frame and region of the world,
just as they did globally.
- [00:25:51.040]The trends we observed for
these three countries are based on the UN,
- [00:25:55.000]an event database called I cuz
I can tell you about that.
- [00:25:59.920]It mirrors the protest data reported
globally by the Center
- [00:26:02.800]for Strategic and International Studies
that showed you a minute ago
- [00:26:07.480]that used an event database
called Gedo. Okay.
- [00:26:10.560]So again, different
database, same findings.
- [00:26:14.360]On the left, you see
actual protest levels.
- [00:26:18.160]And of course, you see
more protests occur in India.
- [00:26:21.280]That's the line on the top,
orange or reddish.
- [00:26:24.160]India has more than eight times
the population of Bangladesh and six times
- [00:26:27.280]the population of Pakistan.
Of course, there's more protests.
- [00:26:30.840]Pakistan has one
and half times the protests,
- [00:26:33.600]the population of Bangladesh,
but almost six times the landmass.
- [00:26:37.200]So you see that Bangladesh
appears to be at the bottom here in
- [00:26:40.400]terms of numbers of protests.
- [00:26:43.160]This great graph on the left also shows
that there was a protest
- [00:26:46.240]wave between 2003 and 2009
that affected all three countries
- [00:26:50.960]and then a distinct trajectory in protest
levels in India starting in 2013,
- [00:26:56.040]right before Prime
Minister Modi's first election.
- [00:27:00.200]However. When you adjust.
- [00:27:04.960]The graph by population size.
- [00:27:07.360]And you look instead of looking at protest
levels, you look at protest rates.
- [00:27:11.200]That's the figure on your right.
- [00:27:13.640]You'll see that Bangladesh green.
- [00:27:16.920]The smallest country in both population
- [00:27:19.240]and area has experienced
a disproportionate number of protest.
- [00:27:26.160]Clearly timing. Location
and political conditions matter.
- [00:27:31.000]The question arises, are protests have
trends here related to climate extremes?
- [00:27:37.560]So I'm going to take an excursion
into the geeky part here.
- [00:27:43.080]Mostly we use what we call
- [00:27:45.480]from many different sources
to answer our research question.
- [00:27:48.840]Which specific data source
we use and integrate
- [00:27:52.120]depends on the type and scope
and level of analysis we conduct.
- [00:27:55.640]But just imagine combining machine
- [00:27:58.560]coded protest data
from the Integrated Crisis early
- [00:28:01.880]warning systems like yours, courtesy
of our computer science team
- [00:28:06.560]with satellite data on precipitation
trends from Nelson Noah
- [00:28:11.680]and satellite data on temperature
trends from the US Department
- [00:28:15.040]of Energy and satellite data
- [00:28:17.280]on nighttime light pollution
from the US Department of Defense.
- [00:28:21.000]All three Courtesy
of our climate science team.
- [00:28:25.400]Plus a bunch of economic,
- [00:28:26.600]political, demographic data
from standard social science sources.
- [00:28:29.680]Happy to discuss those later.
- [00:28:31.360]Think World Bank, United Nations
- [00:28:35.680]I'm going to focus on one specific paper
- [00:28:37.720]where we examined protests
from 1995 to 2013.
- [00:28:41.920]Again, I can explain later
why those 19 years.
- [00:28:44.520]We start with a pretty long period
- [00:28:46.200]in which we count protests
and your number of protests.
- [00:28:49.560]But pretty strict parameters on explaining
why those protests happened,
- [00:28:53.560]where they happened.
- [00:28:56.280]The IQ database already
geo codes, media reported protests.
- [00:29:00.560]We know where they happened.
- [00:29:02.760]We aggregated them to a relatively small
scale geospatial unit.
- [00:29:06.800]We call them pixels.
- [00:29:07.920]They're all the same size and shape,
sort of like a county, but smaller.
- [00:29:12.720]And we matched those that information
for IQ type of protest data
- [00:29:17.160]with satellite and other data sources
for our predictive variables.
- [00:29:22.440]Then we ran countless
- [00:29:24.760]I won't bore you with a formula
for negative binomial regressions.
- [00:29:28.440]We only do that between eight and five.
- [00:29:30.920]These analysis take into account
a whole bunch of alternative
- [00:29:34.920]potential causes of protest
that other researchers have already
- [00:29:39.720]identified linked to demographics,
- [00:29:44.160]What we wanted to know
was two climate abnormalities
- [00:29:48.560]and extremes affect protests even after
we adjust for other potential factors.
- [00:29:54.080]Is there a net effect?
- [00:29:55.440]Can we find a link between the blue
and the pink boxes in Chevron's model?
- [00:30:01.800]Basic first. We found one out of control
variables that even at this
- [00:30:07.880]very granular geospatial level,
urbanized areas experienced more protests.
- [00:30:14.160]And we found that pictures in Bangladesh
continue to stand out in terms of protest
- [00:30:18.920]rates far higher than their neighbors
in India and Pakistan,
- [00:30:22.760]which we linked to known patterns
affecting failing autocratic states.
- [00:30:27.160]These two findings, I mean, two earlier
I called them a truism.
- [00:30:31.000]Everybody knows that.
- [00:30:33.200]But the fact that these findings
confirm prior research
- [00:30:36.560]using very different data, sources
and methods gives us confidence
- [00:30:40.880]in our other, more innovative
and perhaps provocative results.
- [00:30:50.280]Our analysis show
that net of these other factors,
- [00:30:53.840]abnormal climate conditions
shape the likelihood.
- [00:30:58.560]That protest will occur,
and they do so in unexpected ways.
- [00:31:02.840]Because other researchers
have already focused on describe
- [00:31:06.960]the effects of temperatures on protest.
- [00:31:09.240]Tonight I will focus on the role
of abnormal precipitation
- [00:31:12.560]trends as one example.
- [00:31:15.640]What you're looking at here is a seemingly
simple graph with two curves.
- [00:31:22.200]They tell you about the relationship
- [00:31:23.920]between X and Y on the x axis,
- [00:31:28.560]but flat here you see the so-called
standardized precipitation index.
- [00:31:34.520]I can explain that if you'd like,
but essentially it means that it measures
- [00:31:38.960]how apparently dry
from zero in the middle to minus three
- [00:31:44.840]or abnormally wet from zero to plus three.
- [00:31:50.520]Any given year was for any given pixel.
- [00:31:55.120]The index is based on how abnormal
- [00:31:58.360]that year is compared
to the past 40 years.
- [00:32:02.520]Now, mind you, anything
outside of the minus two plus two range is
- [00:32:06.080]highly, extremely rare.
- [00:32:07.720]Like once or twice in central.
- [00:32:10.280]The Y axis shows you the likelihood
that at least one protest
- [00:32:14.760]will occur in a given year in period
a given green pixel.
- [00:32:19.200]The blue line at the bottom,
it curves downwards.
- [00:32:22.480]By now, it should remind you of an
inverted yield curve, though pretty flat.
- [00:32:26.600]This blue curve tells
you about the contemporaneous
- [00:32:30.800]same year link between abnormal
precipitation and protests.
- [00:32:34.040]At first glance, it looks like at either
end of the extreme, protests are less
- [00:32:37.960]likely, both when it's much drier
than normal and much wetter than normal.
- [00:32:43.920]The likelihood of protests is lower.
- [00:32:46.560]Hmm. Well, I guess that
could make intuitive sense.
- [00:32:51.320]People aren't used to that.
- [00:32:52.240]Whether they don't like it,
they don't attend protests.
- [00:32:54.760]In the story, it's funny
- [00:32:56.520]how everything seems like common sense
once you know it, right?
- [00:33:00.000]Because we could have just as easily
hypothesize that people are more likely
- [00:33:03.160]to protest when it's too dry or too wet.
- [00:33:06.640]Protests might be higher
because people recognize historically
- [00:33:09.240]abnormal precipitation patterns
or because the abnormal weather
- [00:33:12.520]has affected the prices
or the quality of life, as I said.
- [00:33:15.880]But if you think about it,
it can take a while for those downstream
- [00:33:19.720]dynamics to unfold and to see
that you need to look at the orange line.
- [00:33:27.160]The Orange Line curves upward.
- [00:33:28.760]It's what we call a classic J or U curve.
- [00:33:31.840]It tells you about the link
between abnormal precipitation too dry
- [00:33:36.400]to wet with a three year lag.
- [00:33:40.200]So the link between abnormal precipitation
- [00:33:42.560]in one year and protests
three years later.
- [00:33:49.040]In the same place.
- [00:33:52.120]Again controlling for other known factors.
- [00:33:56.160]You. What you see
is that even to the extreme,
- [00:33:58.400]protests are actually more likely
both when and where.
- [00:34:01.520]It's much drier than normal,
- [00:34:02.720]and especially when and where
it's much wetter than normal.
- [00:34:07.120]The likelihood of protest rises
three years down the road.
- [00:34:11.960]How do you explain that?
- [00:34:14.520]This domino effect involving
extreme wetness is more pronounced
- [00:34:19.120]and seems to work
at a different temporal time scale
- [00:34:22.320]than the instant contemporaneous
- [00:34:26.160]between temperatures
or droughts and unrest.
- [00:34:29.520]I'll put it this way Usually we think of
- [00:34:32.440]heatwaves and droughts
as relatively short term shocks
- [00:34:36.040]to the economic system correctable
with a cooler or rainy season or two
- [00:34:40.200]when another crop, it'll eventually rain.
- [00:34:43.320]You've all heard that.
- [00:34:45.000]But we have to reconceptualize
- [00:34:48.600]not as a temporary aberration,
but as the new normal with long term
- [00:34:52.040]political implications,
including for protests around the world.
- [00:34:55.680]We also might be well advised to think
of extreme wetness, whatever the cause.
- [00:35:00.600]Monsoon rains, hurricanes,
bom cyclones, sea water inundation
- [00:35:04.600]as long term shocks that destabilize
economic and political systems.
- [00:35:09.600]And that droughts, flooding
doesn't just destroy a crop.
- [00:35:12.960]It destroys arable
land and infrastructure.
- [00:35:17.560]The consequences
- [00:35:19.000]of and recovery from extreme
wetness are felt much longer
- [00:35:22.880]and potentially later
than those of temporary dry, dry spells.
- [00:35:28.360]Note also that the orange line
gauging the lagged effects
- [00:35:32.560]of extreme precipitation.
- [00:35:36.200]An address consistently runs
above the blue line
- [00:35:39.680]for a contemporaneous effect because
we control for other underlying factors.
- [00:35:44.360]This means that the contemporaneous
measure leads us to underestimate
- [00:35:47.960]the connection between
abnormal precipitation and protests.
- [00:35:52.880]The lagged variable orange is a much more
appropriate way to gauge the relationship
- [00:35:58.000]between precipitation extremes,
both extreme dry and wet and protests .
- [00:36:03.000]So to summarize, our own research shows
that the link between climate extremes
- [00:36:07.000]and protests isn't
just about heat and droughts
- [00:36:10.440]creating short term shocks to the system.
- [00:36:13.800]Remember that I framed the director
as too much, too little,
- [00:36:16.040]and the wrong kind of water.
- [00:36:17.800]While prior research had tied
ongoing armed conflicts
- [00:36:21.000]in Africa and the Middle East
to heavy rains and floods.
- [00:36:24.080]Our team's research confirms
this finding for regular run of the mill
- [00:36:28.000]protests in a completely different
geospatial and geopolitical context.
- [00:36:32.840]The more studies we do that
try to replicate
- [00:36:36.040]and extend our insights
into these connections,
- [00:36:39.840]the more confidently scientists
can extrapolate from case studies
- [00:36:44.280]and state that this is a phenomenon
that manifests locally
- [00:36:47.880]but has ramifications for communities
around the world.
- [00:36:51.640]By definition, when there is a time lag
between of years,
- [00:36:56.200]between climate calamities and rising
protests, it becomes much more difficult
- [00:37:01.080]to connect the dots and lay out a report
to help the public visualize
- [00:37:04.840]that there are links
between too much water.
- [00:37:08.040]I protest. But we'll do our best.
- [00:37:10.720]The feedback we get provides us
plenty of inspiration
- [00:37:13.760]to keep inching closer
to an accurate understanding
- [00:37:16.920]of how specific climate extremes
are linked to social unrest.
- [00:37:20.640]And for me as a social scientist,
- [00:37:22.600]the exciting part is that our unexpected
finding this lag effect.
- [00:37:27.520]Let us to revisit theories
and explanations of social unrest
- [00:37:31.000]that pretty much fell out of favor
decades ago, at least in the US,
- [00:37:35.280]but are acquiring new prominence
and resonance in the Anthropocene.
- [00:37:40.160]Now this almost concludes my official
the official portion of my public lecture.
- [00:37:44.800]While I have a captive audience,
I will assert the privilege
- [00:37:48.160]to actually speak beyond the data.
- [00:37:51.240]You might be tempted to compartmentalize
- [00:37:53.600]the research I've discussed as something
that affects other people elsewhere.
- [00:37:59.000]But the fallout from
- [00:37:59.960]extreme dryness and wetness
will and does have implications
- [00:38:04.920]for both the Eastern
and western United States, too.
- [00:38:08.680]This is another set of slides that I have
borrowed from Noah. It shows you.
- [00:38:15.560]Four graphs on the bottom which use
that same standardized precipitation index
- [00:38:21.360]that gets that extreme wetness and dryness
that I've discussed with our research.
- [00:38:25.480]And it shows you that
- [00:38:27.960]the Western United States is getting drier
- [00:38:30.400]and the Eastern United States
is getting wetter.
- [00:38:33.400]They have a similar,
even more sophisticated measure
- [00:38:35.560]that takes evaporation into account.
- [00:38:37.640]That's the four pictures on the top.
- [00:38:40.880]And if you compare the pictures
on the bottom with the ones at the top,
- [00:38:44.200]you'll see that that more sophisticated
measure shows it even more
- [00:38:48.560]clearly how much the eastern
and western United States are diverging.
- [00:38:54.000]This slide as it comes from Noah,
- [00:38:55.800]which relies on viewing notes
from a monitor tool to create these maps.
- [00:38:59.520]If you want to know more
about the drought monitor,
- [00:39:01.640]all you need to do
is visit your notes website.
- [00:39:05.960]These trends have policy, fiscal
and practical implications.
- [00:39:10.120]The increased variability
and unpredictability associated
- [00:39:13.240]with climate extremes
will push our infrastructure
- [00:39:17.040]and our current funding systems
beyond the levels of stress
- [00:39:20.840]they are reasonably able
to withstand and recover from .
- [00:39:24.880]And if we don't make changes in equities
and grievances will increase.
- [00:39:29.600]As well. Protests.
- [00:39:31.680]This may undermine domestic
political stability even further.
- [00:39:35.120]Arguably, worries
about polarized ideologies
- [00:39:38.200]will pale in comparison
to polarized realities.
- [00:39:43.400]So much about polarization.
- [00:39:44.760]Where's the common ground?
- [00:39:46.800]In fact, recent research surveys conducted
by Yale University and by Pew indicate
- [00:39:51.640]that Partizan grandstanding
on the political stage notwithstanding,
- [00:39:55.120]the general public thinks of this
as outside of Partizan polarization.
- [00:39:59.960]There's considerable consensus
among regular folks on multiple issues.
- [00:40:05.240]Renewable energy, international efforts
to mitigate the effects of climate change
- [00:40:09.920]and the central role
of the United States in it.
- [00:40:13.000]Plus, there is a clear indication
that people's personal experiences
- [00:40:17.080]with climate calamities shape those views.
- [00:40:20.400]So regardless of what we think
causes climate and climate extremes,
- [00:40:24.800]there is significant common
ground in public opinion
- [00:40:28.520]on the consequences of climate extremes.
- [00:40:31.720]So ask yourself.
- [00:40:33.600]What can you do concretely
- [00:40:35.760]to minimize the unintended consequences
of climate extremes?
- [00:40:39.800]What will you do to optimize the chances
that future protests
- [00:40:43.680]are a sign of political, including
rather than widening disparities?
- [00:40:48.480]What will you do
not just as an individual,
- [00:40:50.960]but as a member of whatever profession
- [00:40:55.040]that can help propel
- [00:40:59.640]If you work in finance
or you are not producer,
- [00:41:03.000]a trust technician, social worker,
- [00:41:06.400]Supermarket manager.
- [00:41:07.720]What are you doing to facilitate
meaningful innovations in how we do things
- [00:41:13.600]to help humanity thrive
well into the future?
- [00:41:17.080]Just imagine playing a part in efforts
to make protests a positive sign
- [00:41:22.040]indicating a vibrant, functioning,
- [00:41:28.240]Thank you for hearing
me out and for participating tonight.
- [00:41:31.000]Now it's your turn.
- [00:41:32.080]How about some questions?
- [00:42:12.000]Thank you, Ricky.
- [00:42:12.720]That was just super interesting
and I loved your whole framing.
- [00:42:18.880]The one question I have is if
- [00:42:21.280]if the people protesting
are actually protesting about climate
- [00:42:25.280]or are they protesting about other things,
but they're just heightened.
- [00:42:28.040]Okay, I see your answer,
- [00:42:29.320]but maybe you should say for the people
that can only hear you. Thank you.
- [00:42:33.320]These are protests
about all sorts of things,
- [00:42:36.360]seemingly unrelated protests.
- [00:42:40.080]We could, if we wanted to,
- [00:42:44.360]in some of the databases
that that code events
- [00:42:47.360]that apply, for example,
is another possibility.
- [00:42:51.040]In addition to iTunes and digital,
- [00:42:53.160]we can get content from
what are these protests about?
- [00:42:57.600]But then you're talking
- [00:42:59.520]geeking out here, you're
talking about a rare events analysis
- [00:43:02.000]where we'd have to go
- [00:43:02.720]to a level of analysis that would make us
lose the local variability.
- [00:43:06.720]And we can't really look at that
and look at climate effects
- [00:43:10.320]because climate effects seem to be
they have an immediate local impact.
- [00:43:14.160]So there's some things that are better,
- [00:43:15.920]and this is why we conduct these analysis
at multiple levels.
- [00:43:19.400]Some things, some sectors are easier
to see the roles
- [00:43:22.760]they play in shaping
protests at, let's say,
- [00:43:25.200]district, state, national levels
and others are easier to see
- [00:43:28.880]at the local level,
and especially for climate issues.
- [00:43:32.840]Those can be felt locally but have global
- [00:43:36.040]ramifications, universal,
locally and universally.
- [00:43:39.040]And maybe that's good way to put it.
- [00:43:42.680]Great question. More.
- [00:44:07.760]Hi, Professor. I just had a quick question
- [00:44:10.040]about effects of other factors on unrest.
- [00:44:13.600]Have you seen any trends as
to whether different levels of political
- [00:44:19.280]and governmental support
have changed the outcome
- [00:44:23.480]in that post year time step?
- [00:44:27.360]The better country responded to the crisis
- [00:44:30.920]itself, the less increase there was or
- [00:44:35.160]is it generally just overrun
from having the crisis?
- [00:44:40.280]So what we're looking at here
is not so much the ability of governments
- [00:44:45.080]to respond to climate change, and then
- [00:44:49.760]arguably governments would have to respond
to climate change first. Okay.
- [00:44:54.200]So if you think of the Paris accord
that was passed a few years ago,
- [00:44:57.440]the effects of that will not be seen
for quite a while.
- [00:45:01.280]What we're seeing in
the last 20 years is a clear indication
- [00:45:03.840]that protests are rising around
the world in all regions.
- [00:45:08.800]The different regions are struck
by different types of climate calamities
- [00:45:13.600]where warming as opposed to
- [00:45:16.520]too much water, too
little water to heat waves.
- [00:45:20.760]All of that is very locally conditioned.
- [00:45:23.000]So we haven't really been able, though
that's a good idea to have to think about
- [00:45:26.760]when we'd be able to get those data
to see whether governmental responses
- [00:45:30.280]like policies passed, for example,
or tax credits for certain renewable
- [00:45:34.120]energies, whether that reduces
protest levels in certain ways.
- [00:45:37.320]What we do know is that
political conditions in general.
- [00:45:41.400]Affect protest levels.
- [00:45:42.840]And that is where that inverted
yield curve comes in really handy.
- [00:45:45.800]So governments that are responsive.
- [00:45:49.720]Maybe not perfect, but responsive.
- [00:45:53.760]And in which political and political rule
- [00:45:56.960]is contested tend to be much
- [00:46:01.680]more likely to see
protests as a good sign. Okay.
- [00:46:06.480]As opposed to places
in which there's one party rule
- [00:46:11.320]in which there is no contestation,
political contestation, either
- [00:46:14.840]because everybody is happy
or everybody is repressed .
- [00:46:18.680]That's where you see fewer protests.
- [00:46:20.920]So you might want to ask yourself,
- [00:46:22.560]is there a country
that you're interested in
- [00:46:24.320]and what's the political situation
in that country?
- [00:46:26.800]And does it vary locally within
that country? Does that help?
- [00:46:31.680]Thank you. Good question.
- [00:46:33.000]Question from Zoom.
- [00:46:36.360]So how does temperature
compare to participate?
- [00:46:40.200]Precipitation? Sorry, it's been a long day
- [00:46:42.960]when it comes to the long
term effects on unrest. Yes.
- [00:46:46.200]So this is a great question.
- [00:46:47.440]And I skipped over
that kind of nonchalantly
- [00:46:50.480]because there's so much coverage of this
in the media already.
- [00:46:54.840]So we know that even
taking other things into account,
- [00:46:58.320]whether it's political conditions or
- [00:47:01.880]the population density or
- [00:47:03.600]even the aberrations in climate
that we look at here, we know
- [00:47:06.880]that there is an almost linear,
- [00:47:10.880]between increases
in temperatures and protests.
- [00:47:14.600]It only starts to flatten when
- [00:47:19.320]temperature levels reach the point
where they're inhospitable to human life.
- [00:47:24.840]Like 27 degrees,
I think is what we calculated.
- [00:47:27.520]People can't protest anymore.
- [00:47:30.120]Okay. But unlike the U curve
that we're seeing with precipitation,
- [00:47:34.240]linear tends to be temperatures
tend to be linearly associated
- [00:47:39.600]with rises and protests.
- [00:47:43.320]Does that help? I hope
- [00:47:44.760]if not more questions. I'm going.
- [00:47:51.160]Just to follow up on
- [00:47:52.280]that is the association with temperature
and that linear trend eh.
- [00:47:57.960]Like same your effect through your effect.
- [00:48:00.160]Is it both. It's it's same year.
- [00:48:04.200]I have. And that's a really good question.
- [00:48:05.760]I haven't tried I haven't tried the lab.
- [00:48:08.240]We're puzzling some things out
clearly. Try the lab.
- [00:48:11.200]If you give me your name,
we'll try the lab
- [00:48:13.120]and we'll let you know how it turns out.
- [00:48:19.600]Dr. Sizemore has several questions.
- [00:48:22.840]So she says this is a great talk.
- [00:48:25.080]Thank you. A few questions first.
- [00:48:27.040]Why do extremely high precipitation
events lead to more protests
- [00:48:31.880]than extremely low precipitation events
and the three year lag model?
- [00:48:36.520]Okay. Let me go back to that.
- [00:48:38.000]Maybe I didn't think well enough. Okay.
- [00:48:43.920]So what you see is when precipitation is
at its at its average,
- [00:48:49.520]we have lower protests
- [00:48:51.920]then when it's extremely dry.
- [00:48:56.080]And when it's average, we have lower
protests than when it's extremely wet.
- [00:49:00.280]So in both cases,
the lack of precipitation
- [00:49:03.280]as well as overwhelming
precipitation cause higher.
- [00:49:08.240]It's just that the curve
for the extreme wetness
- [00:49:10.840]is more pronounced
than the curve for the extreme dryness,
- [00:49:14.800]and we think that manifests in lags
as opposed to droughts.
- [00:49:18.400]So this is another
one of the things we're puzzling out.
- [00:49:21.120]It appears to us that that insofar
as there may be lagged responses,
- [00:49:26.640]the temporal lag between droughts
and protests is likely shorter.
- [00:49:31.840]Since then, the temporal lag between
flooding or extremely heavy precipitation
- [00:49:37.600]and protests, which is which means that
when we use a three year plan,
- [00:49:42.520]we're better able to capture this
if we use contemporaneous
- [00:49:47.960]indicators for better
able to capture the impact of drought.
- [00:49:52.480]That's why this looks flatter
compared to the extreme.
- [00:49:55.640]I hope that answers the question.
- [00:49:59.360]Second question, Dr.
- [00:50:01.720]Moore says, why is it that the Premier
- [00:50:05.480]League is higher than the contemporaneous?
- [00:50:09.960]Why is it that it's higher
at all? Overall.
- [00:50:15.200]So again, this is not a bivariate.
- [00:50:17.720]This is based on multivariate analysis.
- [00:50:20.840]So we're controlling
for a whole bunch of things.
- [00:50:23.640]What that means is that
- [00:50:26.240]our ability to explain
variation in the outcome,
- [00:50:29.360]the odds that a protest will happen,
it's much better captured
- [00:50:35.480]by the lag measure
than by the contemporaneous one.
- [00:50:39.080]This is not really a very good indicator
of the relationship between
- [00:50:44.120]extreme precipitation, dry
orbit and protest.
- [00:50:48.320]It's something sailing at night
right past each other.
- [00:50:51.800]We need to really capture it.
- [00:50:53.640]That's why this looks like it's higher.
- [00:50:55.920]It's more critically
tied to protest than the instance measure
- [00:51:01.720]or this one behind you.
- [00:51:09.280]I guess. And if I missed
this, I apologize.
- [00:51:11.880]But is there a reason you picked a three
year lag opposed to two or four years?
- [00:51:16.600]Great question. Yes.
- [00:51:17.840]So with the three year lag, this was
the most interesting finding to us.
- [00:51:22.920]And I didn't want to bore you.
- [00:51:26.400]When we use a three year lag, we see this
you curve the most clearly, as you can
- [00:51:30.200]tell. The shorter the lag,
- [00:51:31.880]the flatter it's going to be to the point
where it's inverse.
- [00:51:36.000]And the longer the lag,
the more ephemeral it becomes tool.
- [00:51:40.560]So this seems to be
if you're trying to figure out
- [00:51:43.880]what's our window
of opportunity to prevent
- [00:51:46.560]an extremely wet year from causing
protests, you have three years to fix it.
- [00:51:53.440]Okay. Does that help?
- [00:51:59.320]What other questions?
- [00:52:03.360]Regina Banks. That was that was great.
- [00:52:05.640]Very interesting.
- [00:52:07.960]Quick question. Maybe I missed this.
- [00:52:09.840]Just what constitutes
a protest in this data?
- [00:52:16.360]And relatedly, as I listened to you,
- [00:52:19.640]I thought, well, I'm not sure which data,
- [00:52:22.960]environmental or climate data
or the protest data is like.
- [00:52:28.600]How how reliable is it?
- [00:52:31.360]You know, I would have thought
the environmental climate data
- [00:52:34.800]would be difficult to obtain, but,
you know, it's no data.
- [00:52:39.760]And and so where
- [00:52:44.200]how is which is more difficult for you
to deal with the climate data
- [00:52:48.760]or the protest data,
I guess, is what I'm asking.
- [00:52:53.240]That's a great question.
- [00:52:54.760]The answer the short answer is
I couldn't be giving this talk
- [00:52:59.160]if I didn't have such an awesome team
- [00:53:00.840]of climate scientists
who know how to turn cheap files into
- [00:53:04.600]whatever they do to help us make sure
we can aggregate data to those pixels.
- [00:53:09.240]And I couldn't be giving this talk
without the computer scientists
- [00:53:13.520]who helped us link
machine coded data to geotag
- [00:53:17.720]so that we can then aggregate
to various levels of analysis.
- [00:53:20.600]So to me, the data management
part is the nightmare
- [00:53:25.000]before and after every holiday
you want to imagine,
- [00:53:27.600]which is why we have a fantastic team
- [00:53:29.520]doing it rather than one person
trying to pull it off.
- [00:53:32.640]On how reliable these data are. Well.
- [00:53:37.600]All of the climate data that we use
- [00:53:39.240]for the analysis I presented
today is satellite derived.
- [00:53:43.000]So unless you have a reason to suspect
that the satellites used
- [00:53:48.240]by Noah and Nasser
are systematically malfunctioning,
- [00:53:53.760]these are reliable data
and these are then geo coded
- [00:53:57.240]and we aggregate the data
using means and levels.
- [00:54:01.920]As for the protest definition,
- [00:54:05.360]the definition I gave you in
the beginning is the definition
- [00:54:08.120]we use generally in the social sciences.
- [00:54:12.560]How IQ decides which events meet
- [00:54:17.080]that bar may be a little bit different.
- [00:54:20.240]An IQ is the protest event database
that I discussed today,
- [00:54:23.360]maybe a little bit different
from the data, which was. Used here.
- [00:54:33.000]So what is the acronym stands for?
- [00:54:35.720]Again, it stands for Global.
- [00:54:39.080]I get my alumni accents.
- [00:54:40.400]Global database of events, language
and phone details.
- [00:54:44.120]It's probably the most massive database
that we can think of.
- [00:54:47.240]We have chosen not to use it here because
we are always having to do extra work.
- [00:54:51.440]So much on the reliability of the data.
- [00:54:54.240]Extra work in convincing the audience
that our data has now overcome
- [00:54:58.320]its well-known flaw,
which is that because it's machine coded
- [00:55:03.120]that there are over counting events, that
if something is present,
- [00:55:07.000]is covered in various news sources
- [00:55:09.040]multiple times, that it might be counted
multiple times rather than this one event.
- [00:55:12.760]Data has been getting much better with its
algorithms to duplicate events recorded.
- [00:55:17.560]But the advantage of using data,
for example, would be that they scrape
- [00:55:22.880]local, regional and international news,
including print and visual media,
- [00:55:27.440]using sources in over 100 languages.
- [00:55:31.960]But it's a massive dataset
and sometimes tends to
- [00:55:35.680]the levels of protest
when you compare detailed data are always
- [00:55:38.600]higher than the levels of protest
when you use IQ.
- [00:55:41.600]But it's levels and
they still flow in tandem.
- [00:55:44.320]So from a statistical analysis,
- [00:55:47.120]we actually have looked at
whether we get comparable
- [00:55:49.640]results regardless
of whether we use readout or IQ or another
- [00:55:53.800]database called actions, which captures
an even smaller set of events.
- [00:55:59.320]And we get very robust findings.
- [00:56:01.640]So comparable results,
no matter whose data we use
- [00:56:05.240]and we don't collect
the data ourselves clearly.
- [00:56:08.760]It is a massive undertaking
- [00:56:11.960]funded initially designed by academics
- [00:56:17.160]like Hughes. In and of itself
is little bit different
- [00:56:21.680]from detailed in that it's
called integrated crisis and it doesn't.
- [00:56:27.160]It tends to, if anything,
- [00:56:30.160]which for a social scientist
is not necessarily a bad thing.
- [00:56:33.400]It means you're providing your audience
with a conservative estimate.
- [00:56:38.960]If anything, we're at risk of
underestimating the relationship between
- [00:56:43.080]climate extremes and protests when we lose
conservative measures like that. Okay.
- [00:56:47.800]And actually, I can tell
you more about that.
- [00:56:49.600]We can kick out a few months later.
- [00:56:52.880]So we try our best to run it
every which way, including with our socks
- [00:56:58.360]turned inside out
to see if the results remain robust.
- [00:57:02.360]And so far they do.
- [00:57:04.360]That said help. Okay.
- [00:57:08.280]Another question from the Zoom.
- [00:57:10.200]Thank you for a wonderful talk.
- [00:57:11.320]I was wondering if you think that social
unrest and climate change trends
- [00:57:15.160]you observed fit
within this auteurist theory?
- [00:57:18.600]Alex Smith, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, etc.
- [00:57:22.720]Models of social unrest in particular,
and thinking of discussions
- [00:57:26.320]of protest viability which followed
the inverted graph you showed,
- [00:57:31.280]as well as how extreme
climate events often displaced people,
- [00:57:35.880]which makes organizing protest
in some ways much easier.
- [00:57:40.480]It makes it both easier and harder.
- [00:57:42.440]So chaos is usually not not.
- [00:57:46.520]And displaced people are usually so.
- [00:57:51.360]Preoccupied with survival
- [00:57:52.840]in and of itself that it doesn't
usually it's not a12 punch.
- [00:57:56.800]People get displaced
and they start protesting
- [00:57:58.720]or they're displaced
and they're trying to survive.
- [00:58:01.480]But what happens is that the places
- [00:58:03.120]to which they are displaced
start becoming destabilized as well.
- [00:58:07.760]This is actually, unfortunately,
something that has been documented
- [00:58:10.920]around the world already, which is that
- [00:58:14.280]political extremists
have tried to instrumentalize
- [00:58:19.320]migration, climate change
- [00:58:23.160]Especially on the political right.
- [00:58:24.480]We saw that with Marine
Le Pen in France just a few months ago,
- [00:58:27.520]and we've seen that elsewhere as well.
- [00:58:31.040]Depending on whether you think
of the war in Syria
- [00:58:33.040]as ultimately a result of climate extremes
that caused the Arab Spring,
- [00:58:37.360]that caused an already failing
autocratic state to implode.
- [00:58:41.440]If you think of the Syrian refugee crisis
as a this connected to that border,
- [00:58:45.840]that phone effect,
then the indirect effects such different
- [00:58:48.520]talks about, then you might think of that
as affecting Europe as well.
- [00:58:52.600]So the rise of right
wing populists in Israel, in Italy,
- [00:58:58.040]in Hungary and Poland, in France, Brexit,
right wing populism in Great Britain,
- [00:59:02.920]all of those can, if you wish,
be seen as indirectly connected.
- [00:59:08.400]Climate extremes.
- [00:59:09.520]I hope that answers the caller's question.
- [00:59:15.400]Uh. Hi, Professor. I'm from Sudan.
- [00:59:18.440]And you mention Sudan is one of
the countries that had recent protests.
- [00:59:24.320]Uh, so as far as I know, like, it's
a well-known fact
- [00:59:28.280]among the Sudanese people that the, uh.
- [00:59:32.800]That rising the increase
of prices of bread
- [00:59:35.600]was was the was the cause of the protests.
- [00:59:39.480]So how would you say that climate change
had something to do with that?
- [00:59:43.920]So if we could produce.
- [00:59:51.640]If we could produce maps of Sudan,
they'd look at regions in Sudan
- [00:59:56.880]disproportionately affected
by getting drier and drier.
- [01:00:00.120]Then, compared to compared
to the historical average,
- [01:00:03.480]we would probably see something
very similar to what we're seeing
- [01:00:06.920]in the United States,
maybe not by the east west, but for Sudan.
- [01:00:10.600]And the question is, if the regions
that are disproportionately affected
- [01:00:14.080]by apparently dry conflict conditions
are the agricultural regions
- [01:00:19.800]where staple crops
like sorghum are produced.
- [01:00:24.320]Yes. You're going
to have a virtually instantaneous effect.
- [01:00:27.240]And that's why what I wanted to focus on
- [01:00:29.160]today is most people
intuitively understand that if crops fail
- [01:00:33.760]within short order, food prices will rise
and that that's a grievance.
- [01:00:37.800]And that may very well be related to.
- [01:00:42.040]Unrest in short order.
- [01:00:44.520]Witness people don't typically think
about as causing protests.
- [01:00:49.120]So I'm hoping that one of the
- [01:00:51.640]one of the takeaways for you also is
if there are regions in Sudan
- [01:00:55.640]that get disproportionately wet,
they will see protests, too,
- [01:00:59.800]according to our modeling,
just with a delayed effect.
- [01:01:03.120]And if you get that whiplash
between extreme drought,
- [01:01:06.280]followed by a massive flood
like they just had in Pakistan
- [01:01:08.800]a couple of months ago,
you will see massive displacement
- [01:01:12.560]and destruction of infrastructure
followed by a cholera epidemic.
- [01:01:16.760]That's predictable. Yes.
- [01:01:20.160]Does that answer your question?
- [01:01:25.760]I've been called a serious question
- [01:01:27.160]because thank you
for the wonderful presentation.
- [01:01:30.360]If I am curious if we were to hypothesize
that income inequity
- [01:01:36.200]were to be a determinant of social unrest,
how might this be differentiated
- [01:01:40.960]from the effects of climate extremes
if both are occurring simultaneously?
- [01:01:46.000]Do local contexts help to distinguish
between the two hypothesized
- [01:01:50.400]causal variables?
- [01:01:54.280]So what you're saying is that
- [01:01:56.640]income inequality
has an effect on levels of protests
- [01:01:59.800]and climate conditions
or extremes have an effect.
- [01:02:03.040]The answer is yes and yes.
- [01:02:04.400]So in the models that we've run, not
the local models that are presented today,
- [01:02:08.000]but when we've done it at the district
and state level in India, we have found
- [01:02:12.240]that social inequalities and we've used
all kinds of economic measures
- [01:02:15.520]from income inequality or GDP, various
economic measures, unemployment.
- [01:02:20.000]We have looked at the effects
- [01:02:21.000]of those types of economic
indicators, economic disparities,
- [01:02:24.840]and yes, they do independently affect
protest levels as well.
- [01:02:29.640]What's interesting here
- [01:02:30.880]is that you also get what we call
an interaction effect, which means that
- [01:02:34.720]the populations most affected
by climate extremes
- [01:02:38.720]are the most marginalized populations
in any given context.
- [01:02:44.280]So people who live and live in Heat Island
- [01:02:47.400]can't afford or don't have access
to electricity, to power
- [01:02:52.560]cooling systems, for example.
- [01:02:54.600]People who live in low
lying areas are more likely to get flooded
- [01:02:57.840]repeatedly now, can't obtain
homeowner's insurance, etc..
- [01:03:02.520]So some of those pictures
that I've shown earlier.
- [01:03:06.760]With a regional picture here.
- [01:03:09.800]All of these are now this is an Illinois
- [01:03:13.800]2019 and this is Nebraska 2019.
- [01:03:17.680]So homeowners here will no longer
be able to get insurance.
- [01:03:26.560]I hope that answers the question.
- [01:03:29.160]It's not easy to find online.
- [01:03:35.880]Thank you so much for all coming tonight.
- [01:03:38.880]Once more, a round of applause for Dr.
- [01:03:43.840]Werum and I hope that you all will
join us in the spring
- [01:03:52.800]when the second part of the series
picks back up in January,
- [01:03:56.680]where we return to politics
with the newly inaugurated class
- [01:04:02.040]of representatives
from your votes next week.
- [01:04:06.200]So I'll see you then. Take care.
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