Climate change impacts increase economic inequality_ evidence from a systematic literature review

Climate change impacts increase economic inequality: evidence from a systematic literature review

Climate change impacts increase economic inequality: evidence from a systematic literature review

Aurélie Méjean, Peron Collins-Sowah, Céline Guivarch, Franziska Piontek, Bjoern Soergel, Nicolas Taconet

Abstract

While it is widely assumed that poor countries will suffer more from climate change, and that climate change will exacerbate inequalities within countries, systematic and large-scale evidence on this issue has been limited. In this systematic literature review, we examine and synthesize the evidence from the literature. Drawing from 127 individual papers, we find robust evidence that climate change impacts indeed increase economic inequality and disproportionately affect the poor, both globally and within countries on all continents. This result is valid across a wide range of physical impacts, types of economic inequality, economic sectors, and assessment methods. Furthermore, we highlight the channels through which climate change increases economic inequality. While the diversity of different approaches and metrics in the existing literature base precludes extracting a universal quantitative relation between climate change and economic inequality for use in future modelling, our systematic analysis provides an important stepping stone in that direction.

Citation: Méjean A., Collins-Sowah P., Guivarch C., Piontek F., Soergel B., Taconet N. (2024) Climate change impacts increase economic inequality: evidence from a systematic literature review, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 19, Number 4

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