Study Climate Change Affects Global Economic Inequality Too

first_imgStay on target Climate change affects more than just the environment: A Stanford University study shows global warming has increased economic inequality.While temperature fluctuations have enriched cool countries like Norway and Sweden, warmer nations such as India and Nigeria are suffering.“Our results show that most of the poorest countries on Earth are considerably poorer than they would have been without global warming,” lead study author and climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said in a statement. “At the same time, the majority of rich countries are richer than they would have been.”Based on 50 years of annual temperature and gross domestic product (GDP) measurements for 165 countries, researchers demonstrated that growth during warmer-than-average years has accelerated in cool nations and slowed in warm ones.Warming that has already happened has increased economic inequality around the world (via Stanford University)“The historical data clearly shows that crops are more productive, people are healthier, and we are more productive at work when temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold,” according to study co-author Marshall Burke, a Stanford assistant professor of Earth system science.“This means that in cold countries, a little bit of warming can help,” he said. “The opposite is true in places that are already hot.”Using climate models to isolate how much each country warmed due to human-induced climate change, researchers were able to estimate a range of outcomes, suggesting what each nation’s economic output might have been had temperatures not increased.“For most countries, whether global warming has helped or hurt economic growth is pretty certain,” Burke said, admitting that the data is less clear for countries in the middle latitudes, including the US, China, and Japan.“A few of the largest economies are near the perfect temperature for economic output,” he continued. “Global warming hasn’t pushed them off the top of the hill, and in many cases, it has pushed them toward it.”The gap between economic output of the world’s richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger today than it would have been without global warming (via Stanford University)Things won’t stay this way forever, though: A large amount of warming in the future would mean a severe drop in productivity.Just ask Sudan, India, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Brazil, which saw a 25 to 36 percent decrease in per capita GDP from global warming between 1961 and 2010.“The more these countries warm up, the more drag there’s going to be on their development,” Diffenbaugh warned, emphasizing the importance of increased sustainable energy access for poorer countries.“Our finding that global warming has exacerbated economic inequality suggests that there is an added economic benefit of energy sources that don’t contribute to further warming,” he added.The full study was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.More on Geek.com:Landmark UN Report Urges Action on Environment, ClimateClimate Change Could Melt Tons of Human Poop at Denali National ParkThis $5.5 Million ‘Livable Yacht’ Lets You Ride Out Climate Change Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutResearchers Transform CO2 Into Liquid Fuel last_img read more