A new Stanford University study shows global warming has increased economic inequality since the 1960s. Temperature changes caused by growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere have enriched cool countries like Norway and Sweden, while dragging down economic growth in warm countries such as India and Nigeria.
“Our results show that most of the poorest countries on Earth are considerably poorer than they would have been without global warming,” said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, lead author of the study published April 22 in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “At the same time, the majority of rich countries are richer than they would have been.”
The study, co-authored with Marshall Burke, a Stanford assistant professor of Earth system science, finds that, from 1961 to 2010, global warming decreased the wealth per person in the world’s poorest countries by 17 to 30 percent. Meanwhile, the gap between the group of nations with the highest and lowest economic output per person is now approximately 25 percent larger than it would have been without climate change.