- GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.
- World Bank has recently released the Groundswell report on climate change. The report examines how the impacts of slow-onset climate change, such as water scarcity, decreasing crop productivity and rising sea levels, could lead to millions of “climate migrants” by 2050.
- Hotspots of internal climate migration can emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050.
- Climate change is a powerful driver of internal migration because of its impacts on people’s livelihoods and loss of liveability in highly exposed locations.
- The report is a stark reminder of the human toll of climate change, particularly on the world’s poorest — those who are contributing the least to its causes.
- In the most pessimistic scenario with a high level of emissions and unequal development, climate change can force around 216 million people in six world regions to move within their own countries by 2050.
- Those regions are Latin America; North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; South Asia; and East Asia and the Pacific.
- In the most climate-friendly scenario, with a low level of emissions, the world could still see 44 million people being forced to migrate.
- In the worst-case scenario, Sub-Saharan Africa — the most vulnerable region due to desertification, fragile coastlines and the population’s dependence on agriculture — would see the most migrants, with up to 86 million people moving within national borders.
- Apart from Sub-Saharan Africa, east Asia and the Pacific could force 49 million out of their homes; south Asia, 40 million; north Africa, 19 million; Latin America, 17 million and eastern Europe and Central Asia, 5 million.
Recommendations of the report
- Immediate and concerted action to reduce global emissions could reduce the scale of climate migration by around 80%.
- Embed internal climate migration in far-sighted green, resilient, and inclusive development planning.
- Reduce global emissions and make efforts to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Prepare for each phase of migration, so that internal climate migration as an adaptation strategy can result in positive development outcomes.
- Invest in better understanding of the drivers of internal climate migration to inform well-targeted policies.