Climate Change Migration

It’s easy to speak of the consequences of climate change, but being faced with potential numbers of one of its consequences is a wake-up call. The World Bank recently issued a Report “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration” saying that if current trends continue and we do nothing by 2050, 143 million people would be climate change refugees. The reasons are due to causes we’ve already heard about:  decreased crop productivity, water shortages and rising sea levels. Of course the poorest would be affected and the present projection is made up of 86 million from Sub-Saharan Africa, 40 million from South Asia and 17 million from South America. The importance of the report is that if we act now we could reduce these numbers by up to 80%. Even then the millions affected will be staggering, and given how we are handling refugees from countries like Myanmar and Syria, the potential for suffering ought to be impetus to act.  Much of this migration would be internal and the report says it need not become a crisis if we cut greenhouse gases now, make sure that climate migration is taken into consideration in development planning and invest now to improve understanding how internal climate migration will unfold. The report focuses on 3 case studies, each meant to illustrate one of these main 3 recommended actions. It is a heavy dose of facing reality. And while some of our policy makers are not inclined to face the reality of climate change, we must, and do so all the while remembering that while their tenure in office may be limited, the facts and our commitment will remain.


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