What is it about?
While evidence indicates that climate change is likely to increase income inequality between countries, its impacts across different income classes are less understood. Using global data on inequality indicators, we show that rainfall anomalies increase income inequality in economies that are heavily dependent on agriculture. Climate projections indicate that existing disparities are likely to worsen over time. Our findings underline the urgent need for inclusive and sustainable development policies, especially in highly exposed countries.
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Why is it important?
Previous work has focused on the role of temperature anomalies in reducing aggregate GDP. We show that precipitation matters too, especially in countries which highly rely on agriculture. Precipitation anomalies not only affect various countries in different ways, but can also increase income inequality within countries. Our projected impacts show that inequality will likely increase, especially if future economic development will be carbon fueled. From our study, it emerges that sustainable and inclusive development is a fundamental tool through which future climate impacts can be mitigated.
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This page is a summary of: Climate change and the nonlinear impact of precipitation anomalies on income inequality, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2203595119.
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