Earth Day: Stanford scientists see link between global warming and income inequality

MarketWatch | 4/22/2019 | Andrew Keshner
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Global warming may be making income inequality worse across the world.

This Earth Day, Stanford University researchers said gradual temperature increases over almost five decades have helped created financial disparities between poorer, typically warm countries and richer, typically cooler countries.

Climate - Change - Divide - Nations - Output

Without climate change, the divide between nations with the largest economic output per person and nations with the smallest output per person would be 25% smaller, says the new study.

Instead, climate change has been a drag on growth for many poorer countries and enriched many wealthy countries.

Countries - Growth - Whereas - End - Range

“Countries that are very warm tended to exhibit slower economic growth whereas on the cooler end of the range, cool countries have tended to experience faster economic growth,” climate scientist and study co-author Noah Diffenbaugh, a Stanford University professor and senior fellow, told MarketWatch.

“The historical data clearly show that crops are more productive, people are healthier and we are more productive at work when temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold,” said Marshall Burke, an assistant professor at the university’s Department of Earth System Science and another author on the study.

Countries - Bit - Places - Statement - Research

“This means that in cold countries, a little bit of warming can help. The opposite is true in places that are already hot,” he said in a statement. Research has shown how hot temperatures can cut into crop yields, labor productivity and even the ability to think straight.

The Stanford study, published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lists the countries that, at a cumulative level, researchers estimate missed out on the most wealth over time because of global warming.

Impacts

The estimated impacts are:

The study also noted there were beneficiaries too:

Warming - Inequality - Diffenbaugh - Lead - Author

”We are not arguing global warming created global economic inequality,” Diffenbaugh, the lead author, noted, adding that global economic inequality...
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