Crime-show devotees will be familiar with the idea of a “stressor”—a sudden change in circumstances or environment that interacts with a complicated psychological profile in a way that leads a previously quiescent person to become violent. The stressor is by no means the only cause of the crimes that ensue, but it is an important factor in a complex set of variables that ultimately lead to disaster.
A new report from the Center for American Progress, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” does not argue that climate change caused the revolutions that have shaken the Arab world over the past two years. But the collected essays make a compelling case that the consequences of climate change are stressors that can ignite a volatile mix of underlying causes that erupt into revolution.
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