Fellows in the News

Climate change could initially benefit rich countries while damaging the economies of poor nations.

That’s the conclusion of a new way of modelling its impact, which challenges earlier forecasts.

Previous methods of estimating the economic effects of climate change usually looked at how individual sectors like agriculture or tourism would be affected, then added them all up to give the net effect on each country’s economy.

Such “bottom up” approaches found that climate change would immediately harm all economies, although the impact on rich countries was less marked.

Economist Derek Lemoine from the University of Arizona in Tucson and climate scientist Sarah Kapnick from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took a different approach.

They analysed past correlations between countries’ economic output and changes in temperature and rainfall, and then used the latest climate models to extrapolate those effects into the future, creating a kind of “top down” picture.

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