Climate change will have a varying affect on the conditions of people with different standings. Many of the impacts will be created via a financial situation. Climate change can therefore have a negative impact particularly on the lives of the poorest people. However, defining the winners and losers in climate change is not unequivocal. A key role is played by people's different possibilities to adapt to the changing conditions.

On a global scale, various indigenous people whose social situation can already be weaker than that of others, are susceptible to climate change. For example, coping with the impacts of climate change can be impeded by difficulties in changing residence or choosing a means of livelihood.

In addition, gender can have an impact on how people adapt to climate change. In many countries, women are in a weaker financial and social position than men and climate change has been estimated to weaken the possibilities to develop more equal societies.