Climate Change and Migration

The consequences of climate change on migration present humanity with an unprecedented challenge. The numbers of storms, droughts and floods have increased threefold over the last 30 years with devastating affects on vulnerable communities, particularly in the developing world. In 2008, 20 million persons have been displaced by extreme weather events, compared to 4.6 million internally displaced by conflict and violence over the same period. How many people will be affected by climate change by 2050? Forecasts vary from 25 million to 1 billion people with a figure of 200 million being the most widely cited estimate. Extreme environmental events such as cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes tend to capture the media headlines, but it is gradual changes in the environment that are likely to have a much greater impact on the movement people in the future. For example, over the last 30 years, twice as many people have been affected by droughts as by storms (1.6 billion compared with approximately 718 million).

 

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