Although people living in poverty are among the most vulnerable to a warming planet, some of the world’s poor could end up winners in the climate change shuffle. As heat and drought drive crop yields down, basic commodity prices will go up. That will harm some—and help others.

“There are really very different effects on poverty depending on which poor people you look at,” says David Lobell, an assistant professor of environmental earth system science at Stanford University. “Farmers are...

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