For richer, for poorer: Global warming has made the world’s rich richer and the poor poorer, study says – USA TODAY
2018 was apparently the hottest year ever recorded for the world’s oceans. Buzz60
Global warming may be good for “us,” but not for “them:”
Due in part to rising temperatures from human-caused climate change, the gap between the world’s poorest and richest people has increased in the past half-century, a new study released Monday said.
“Our results show that most of the poorest countries on Earth are considerably poorer than they would have been without global warming,” said Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, the lead author of the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“At the same time, the majority of rich countries are richer than they would have been,” he said.
Specifically, soaring temperatures have enriched cooler, wealthier countries such as Sweden, Canada and Norway while dragging down economic growth in warmer, economically shaky nations such as India and Nigeria, the study said.
Why is this? “Crops are more productive, people are healthier and we are more productive at work when temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold,” study co-author Marshall Burke, also of Stanford, explained. “This means that in cold countries, a little bit of warming can help. The opposite is true in places that are already hot.”
According to the study, from 1961 to 2010, the average person in the world’s poorest countries saw their wealth drop by as much as 30%.
Global warming, aka climate change, occurs when fossil fuels such as oil and coal are burned. The burning process releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise to levels that cannot be due to natural causes.
Since the late 1800s, when fossil fuels began to be burned, the world’s temperature has risen almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Diffenbaugh said there’s a 90% chance that this global warming has been a cause for the economic disparity between the top and bottom of Earth’s population.
Any benefit to the world’s richest countries from climate change is likely a temporary boost: “A few of the largest economies are near the perfect temperature for economic output,” Burke said. “But a large amount of warming in the future will push them further and further from the temperature optimum.”
Speaking of how the world’s poor are most vulnerable to global warming, he said that “to me, this is an indication of the way in which those who are on the front lines of the problem are being affected in ways that we should anticipate will spread.”
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