Poverty and Climate Change

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New research from Dr. Stephane Hallegatte, Lead Economist at the World Bank Group – Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and Dr. Julie Rozenberg, Economist at the World Bank Sustainable Development Group looks into climate change from an economic perspective. In particular, they focused on the implications and impacts for the global population living in poverty. They recently published a paper in Nature Climate Change titled, “Climate change through a poverty lens”.

Some key findings alluded to the fact that poor countries as a whole are more vulnerable than rich ones when using macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, as a metric. Even with limited impacts over the entire distribution of a population, the poor will suffer the most severe impacts.

The study looked at 92 different countries and found that the bottom 40% will experience impacts that are 70% larger than the average. Increased exposure to flooding, drought and extreme heat combined with lack of post-shock support lead to higher losses overall of relative wealth for the poorer populations during an environmental shock.