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Study predicts 140 million climate refugees in 2050

Credit: Pixabay

A new study from the World Bank worrying predicts that more than 143 million people could be forced to migrate from their home region between now and 2050. According to the study, dramatic changes to our climate is the main cause of an increase in internal migration.

Three particularly sensitive regions

If drastic efforts are taken to combat global warming in the next three decades, the effect of this worrying prediction might be less extreme than expected.  However without any action, people living in three of the most densely populated areas in the world may need to seek refuge elsewhere.  The regions most affected are sub-Saharan Africa, as well as some areas in Latin America and South Africa.  Together these three regions represent more than half of the developing world’s population.

Lets firstly take a look at the statistics for sub-Saharan Africa.  According to projection models based on demographic, socio-economic and climatic figures, it is predicted that more than 86 million people will need to move between now and 2050.   In South Asia, 40 million climate refugees may need to migrate to other neighbouring countries while 17 million people may need to move from regions in Latin America.  Why is such drastic migration being predicted?  Some of the effects of global warming could lead to water shortages, bad harvests and rising sea levels.  Severe weather should also be taken into consideration.

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India:  A water crisis already threatens 600 millions inhabitants. Credits : Pixnio

How can we avoid the worst?

Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank Chief Executive Officer explained in a statement that, “We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality,” She continued by saying that, “Steps cities take to cope with the upward trend of arrivals from rural areas and to improve opportunities for education, training, and jobs will pay long-term dividends. It’s also important to help people make good decisions about whether to stay where they are or move to new locations where they are less vulnerable.”

Internal climate migration is a reality.  However this reality can be less drastic if effected regions prepare and put in place necessary measures starting from today.  Authors of the report warn that without any plans or proper support in place, rural people moving to cities seeking a better stardard of living are in fact putting their life at greater risk.  They highlight that although climate migrate is a reality, the severity of the situation can be decreased if measures are taken now.

The study advises several courses of action.  The first is to do everything possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  It also involves creating urban plans which take into consideration future climate related migrations.  Lastly they suggest more money should be invested so that can help us to better assess the trajectory of future climate migrations on a national level.


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