BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Climate change could push more than 200 million people from their homes over the next three decades and create migration hotspots unless urgent action is taken to reduce global emissions and closing the development gap, according to a World Bank report found.
The second part of the Groundswell report published on Monday examined how slow-onset climate change impacts such as water scarcity, declining crop productivity and rising sea levels could lead to millions of what he describes as “climate migrants” by 2050 under three different scenarios with varying degrees of climate action and development.
In the most pessimistic scenario, with a high level of emissions and uneven development, the report predicts that up to 216 million people will move within their own country in the six regions analyzed. These 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 low emissions and inclusive and sustainable development, the world could still see 44 million people forced to leave their homes.
The results “reaffirm the power of climate to induce migration within countries,” said Viviane Wei Chen Clement, senior climate change specialist at the World Bank and one of the report’s authors.
The report did not examine the short-term impacts of climate change, such as the effects of extreme weather events, and did not examine climate migration across borders.
In the worst-case scenario, sub-Saharan Africa – the region most vulnerable 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.
North Africa, however, is expected to have the highest proportion of climate migrants, with 19 million people on the move, equivalent to around 9% of its population, mainly due to increasing water scarcity in the north. -est of Tunisia, north-west of Algeria, west and south of Morocco, and the central foothills of the Atlas, according to the report.
In South Asia, Bangladesh is particularly affected by floods and crop failures, accounting for nearly half of expected climate migrants, with 19.9 million people, including a growing number of women, moving by 2050 according to the pessimistic scenario.
“This is our humanitarian reality right now and we fear it will get even worse, where vulnerability is most acute,” said Professor Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross International Climate Center and of the Red Crescent, which was not involved. with the report.
Many scientists say the world is no longer on track for a worst-case emissions scenario. But even in a more moderate scenario, van Aalst said that many impacts are now occurring faster than expected, “including the extremes we are already experiencing, as well as the potential implications for migration and displacement.”
While the influence of climate change on migration is not new, it is often part of a combination of factors driving people to move and acts as a threat multiplier. People affected by conflict and inequality are also more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because they have limited means to adapt.
“Globally, we know that three out of four people who move stay within countries,” said Dr Kanta Kumari Rigaud, senior environment specialist at the World Bank and co-author of the report.
The report also warns that migration hotspots could emerge over the next decade and intensify by 2050. Planning is needed both in areas where people will settle and in areas where people will settle. they leave to help those who remain.
Among the recommended actions were achieving “net zero emissions by mid-century to have a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C” and investing in “green, resilient and inclusive development,” in accordance with the Paris Agreement ”.
Clément and Rigaud warned that the worst-case scenario is always plausible if collective action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in development is not taken quickly, especially over the next decade.
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