UC Berkeley study links economic inequality to climate change
Newly published research uses science to lump the issues of climate change and economic inequality for political lobbying.
A study published last week by professors at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that climate change will reduce the income of an average person by 23 percent and increase global inequality by the year 2100. The study followed a previous UC Berkeley study published just a month earlier, proposing changes to climate policy.
“[Climate change] is causing major trauma for almost half the world’s population that’s much poorer than we are.”
The results of the study find that climate change will increase global inequality majorly, alleging warming is beneficial for colder countries such as Europe, which tend to be more advanced and rich, but more harmful for hot countries such as Africa and South Asia, which tend to be poorer; thus allegedly widening the global inequality gap by roughly 77 percent.
“These results provide the first evidence that economic activity in all regions is coupled to the global climate and establish a new empirical foundation for modelling economic loss in response to climate change, with important implications,” the study abstract reads. “If future adaptation mimics past adaptation, unmitigated warming is expected to reshape the global economy by reducing average global incomes roughly 23% by 2100 and widening global income inequality, relative to scenarios without climate change.”
UC Berkeley associate professor of public policy Solomon Hsiang, campus professor of environmental and resource economics Edward Miguel, and Stanford University assistant professor of earth system science Marshall Burke, were reported to have led the research.
“[Climate change] is causing major trauma for almost half the world’s population that’s much poorer than we are,” Hsiang said. “We should know that’s what these actions are doing.”
Only data for temperature levels were used in the study, excluding factors such as rising sea levels and predicted weather.
Hsiang says that his research will help understand the “consequences” of global warming so that more money will be allocated to prevent it. He says that he is not sure “what the right number [of money] is,” but that more dramatic the results of his research will call for greater amounts of funding.
Dr. James Enstrom, an epidemiologist and climate change researcher at UCLA, led several climate change studies in which he found global warming has little effect on health and lifestyle as environmental agencies such as the Air Resources Board purport it does.
Enstrom believes that the climate change initiative takes issues in the U.S. out of proportion and is generally fueled by political motive.
“They may reduce the emissions, but that doesn’t mean that it changes the atmosphere at all, because the air diffuses across state lines,” Enstrom had said in an interview last month, citing the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental & Public Works.
“It is important but it’s not something that America should try to solve on its own. It’s not in perspective with the other economical needs.”
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