Wealth reallocation and sustainability under climate change

Eli P. Fenichel, Simon A. Levin, Bonnie McCay, Kevin St. Martin, Joshua K. Abbott & Malin L. Pinsky

Abstract:

Climate change is often described as the greatest environmental challenge of our time. In addition, a changing climate can reallocate natural capital, change the value of all forms of capital and lead to mass redistribution of wealth. Here we explain how the inclusive wealth framework provides a means to measure shifts in the amounts and distribution of wealth induced by climate change. Biophysical effects on prices, pre-existing institutions and socio-ecological changes related to shifts in climate cause wealth to change in ways not correlated with biophysical changes. This implies that sustainable development in the face of climate change requires a coherent approach that integrates biophysical and social measurement. Inclusive wealth provides a measure that indicates sustainability and has the added benefit of providing an organizational framework for integrating the multiple disciplines studying global change.

 

 

Published online February 24th, 2016 in Nature Climate Change 6, 237–244

doi:10.1038/nclimate2871

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Published Feb. 25, 2016 2:38 PM - Last modified Feb. 25, 2016 2:38 PM