Climate Winners and Losers

Do you live somewhere that might actually benefit from climate change? Rising temperatures and seas will produce losers and winners. Some parts of the world will see more moderate weather and economic gains, while others are already seeing sagging property prices and economic losses. “Many people think oh it’s just the temperature, but actually temperature affects everything,” says Solomon Hsiang of UC Berkeley. Hsiang co-authored a 2017 paper in the journal Science that outlines the impacts of a warmer world on human health and migration, violent crime, food production and wealth distribution. The study shows that hot days are associated with increased violence as well as with reduced incomes. Hsiang and his colleagues have followed actual U.S. counties over time and found that if the diurnal average is above 85 Fahrenheit, people earn roughly $20 less per year. So who does come out ahead? “We do spend a lot of resources trying to cope with the cold,” Hsiang notes. “There are many parts of the world where if you get a little bit warmer…you actually can take those resources that you were spending on shoveling your driveway or paying someone to plow it, and you can invest those in something much more productive.” But would any of these benefits inevitably offset by the social costs? “Risk in a changing climate is not just about the climate – that human side of the picture is unbelievably important,” says Katherine Mach, formerly with Stanford University and now at university of Miami. “The huge inequities among countries of the world and the way that impacts that are happening in terms of impacts for food security or water insecurity…will mean different things when you're in a low income country” without state support to keep the economy moving. Guests: Solomon Hsiang, Chancellor's Associate Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley Katherine Mach, Senior Research Scientist, Stanford University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

by Climate One