Lawmakers and scientists must come together to make sure policies aimed at mitigating climate change do not increase global poverty, according to a new study.
While the impacts of climate change are widely considered to disproportionately affect people living below the poverty line the most, climate change policies, in their efforts to stop the Earth's temperatures from warming even more, could inadvertently increase the financial burden on the poor, researchers say in study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday.
Current socio-economic trends could result in about 350 million people living in extreme poverty by 2030, and this number does not account for the potential impact from climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with ambitious climate policies that would limit global warming to below a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise since the 19th century, the number of people living in poverty could still increase by another 50 million, according to the study.
Researchers believe that climate policies should be combined with compensation policies to share the costs of climate change in a "fair way," according to the study.
The model suggested by the authors of the study involves a progressive redistribution of national carbon pricing revenues that could compensate the poor for the additional financial burden as well as potentially lead to about reduction of people living in poverty by about 6 million.
The study also recommends international climate finance transfers as well, since the domestic revenues in places like sub-Saharan Africa are not sufficient enough to compensate for the climate policies in those places.
The research highlights that "climate mitigation does not lead to a disproportionate burden on the poor if combined with national and international redistribution policies."