Published: Fri, March 23, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Climate Change Could Enforce Migration

Climate Change Could Enforce Migration

What he got at the end of the almost five-hour hearing was a primer on the history of climate change research, carbon dioxide's role as a greenhouse gas, melting ice caps, rising sea levels and extreme weather.

A new report by the World Bank shows that the effects of climate change could force 140 million people to move within their countries by 2050.

"Every day, climate change becomes a more urgent economic, social, and existential threat to countries and their people", World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva wrote in the introduction to the report. The report finds that internal climate migration will likely rise through 2050 and then accelerate unless there are significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and robust development action.

The report said Ethiopia's population could nearly double by 2050 and migration will rise due to diminishing harvests.

Bangladesh, a low-lying country where agriculture is vulnerable to floods and salinization, could end up accounting for one third of South Asia's climate migrants.

The cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California sued Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and BP PLC past year, seeking an abatement fund to help the cities address flooding they say is a result of climate change.

At a recent conference of the International Organization for Migration, France's Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot said climate issues already were displacing twice as many people as conflicts, and might already be the main cause of migration.

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Ethiopia's urban population is growing by 3.8 percent annually on average, one of the fastest rates in sub-Saharan Africa and presenting challenges to infrastructure, services and jobs, the bank said.

The region's inhabitants now number more than one billion but will rise to 2.7 billion people by 2060, according to World Bank figures.

"At the forest level there is employment, in businesses there is employment, so there is not a strong need to go away, because in the community there is a wide range of opportunities", Martinez told the World Bank.

"Without the right planning and support, people migrating from rural areas into cities could be facing new and even more unsafe risks", said the report's team lead Kanta Kumari Rigaud.

The report recommends key actions to help prevent wide-scale climate migration: cutting global greenhouse gas emissions; improving development planning at the local level for climate migration; and investing in data to better understand climate migration trends in each country.

"While internal climate migration is becoming a reality, it won't be a crisis if we plan for it now".

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