More Aggressive Climate Policies Are Needed to Save the Future Poor

Rose Huber ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

People often believe that future generations will be better off than their predecessors, but that may be a dangerous assumption when it comes to climate change, according to new Princeton research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Past research shows the poor bear the brunt of climate change impacts, especially in terms of long-term income growth. A new model developed at Princeton University predicts that, if the poor continue to be affected in this way — and current climate policies remain the same — the world’s future poor will be even worse off than impoverished people today.

The model is the first to consider how the effects of climate change impacts, and the policies designed to address them, will produce very unequal outcomes between the rich and poor in the same country. Given the model's dire predictions, aggressive climate policies may be needed to protect the world's most vulnerable populations, the researchers said.