Global Warming – A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that global warming could influence fish and other types of natural resources to drift toward the poles. And, in a much broader sense, it could also be responsible for shifting wealth distribution, leaving certain nations worse off than others.
Making an interesting point, the researchers believe that the natural progression is that money will roll right in where fish migrate, particularly in emerging countries. But the reality is that more may be needed on policymakers’ parts, as government officials need to do more than just be aware of biophysical factors, like the changes in fish populations. Basing shifts in wealth on how fish populations increase in one area and decrease in another is too simplistic, the researchers say, and “inclusive wealth” should instead be included as a main variable when determining the impact of shifts.
The researchers stressed that their findings may help track the impact of climate change in terms of local and global sustainability. When so-called “natural capital” shifts as a result of global warming, may it be toward the poles or the mountains, the value of said capital reacts to new pricing that takes social variables into account, on top of biophysical changes.
“People are mostly focused on the physical reallocation of these assets, but I don’t think we’ve really started thinking enough about how climate change can reallocate wealth and influence the prices of those assets,” said lead author Eli Fenichel of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in a press release. “We don’t know how this will unfold, but we do know there will be price effects. It’s just Economics 101—prices reflect quantity and scarcity and natural capital is hard for people to move … It’s as inevitable as the movement of these fish species.”
Fenichel pointed out that although fish were used as an example in his team’s study, the “natural capital” he refers to may also include plants, trees, and other natural resources. He said that “gainers” in terms of natural capital are “clearly better off” in a way that’s much greater than the losers are worse off. “The losers are losing much more than the gainers are gaining,” he continued. “And when that happens, it’s not an efficient reallocation of wealth.”