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What will a planet plagued by escalating climate change look like? No one really knows. But speaking at EmTech MIT 2016, Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, presented results based on his recent analysis of economic and climate data that begin to more clearly define what the world might look like as it gets hotter.

It’s not a pretty picture. Rising temperatures will dramatically damage agricultural yields and human health, and will significantly reduce overall economic growth. In fact, Hsiang said, data suggests global GDP will be reduced by 23 percent by the end of the century if climate change progresses largely unabated, compared to a world without global warming.

That decrease in economic output will hit the poorest 60 percent of the population disproportionately hard, said Hsiang. In doing so, it will surely exacerbate inequality, as many rich regions of the world that have lower average annual temperatures, such as northern Europe, benefit from the changes. Hotter areas around the tropics, including large parts of south Asia and Africa, already tend to be poorer and will suffer.

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MIT Technology Review

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