Climate change is often described as the greatest environmental challenge of our time. In addition, a changing climate can reallocate natural capital, change the value of all forms of capital and lead to mass redistribution of wealth. Here we explain how the inclusive wealth framework provides a means to measure shifts in the amounts and distribution of wealth induced by climate change. Biophysical effects on prices, pre-existing institutions and socio-ecological changes related to shifts in climate cause wealth to change in ways not correlated with biophysical changes. This implies that sustainable development in the face of climate change requires a coherent approach that integrates biophysical and social measurement. Inclusive wealth provides a measure that indicates sustainability and has the added benefit of providing an organizational framework for integrating the multiple disciplines studying global change.
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Research support by NSF awards OCE-1426700, OCE-1426746 and OCE-1426891, NJ Sea Grant award R/6410-0011, the Knobloch Family Foundation, and the project Green Growth Based on Marine Resources: Ecological and Socio-Economic Constraints (GreenMAR), funded by Nordforsk.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Fenichel, E., Levin, S., McCay, B. et al. Wealth reallocation and sustainability under climate change. Nature Clim Change 6, 237–244 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2871
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