“Climate refugees” or “environmental migrants” are those people who are forced to leave their homes due to diminished agricultural production, water scarcity, rising sea levels, or increased temperatures. According to the new reports in this regard, climate refugees will significantly grow in number by 2050 if nothing is done to combat these negative effects of climate change.
At this moment, about 86 million people could leave their homes in sub-Saharan Africa, 40 million in South Asia, and 17 million in South America, summing up the possible number of climate refugees to 143 million, warned today, in a report, The World Bank.
“Cross-border migrations capture the attention of the media. We know that internal migration is probably three times more important,” said John Roome, the Director of climate change at the World Bank.
Climate migration is already high in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Mexico
In Ethiopia, where the population can grow by 85% by the end of 2050, the climate migrations could also increase significantly due to poor harvests.
Another study has been conducted in Bangladesh where climate refugees are likely to outnumber all other types of IDPs (Internally Dispatched Persons) due to a severe water crisis.
Finally, the last study focused on Mexico, where the migration from the vulnerable rural regions to the urban areas is expected to increase due to climate changes, by 2050. Climate migration is, however, lower in Mexico thanks to a more diversified economy.
Farmers are the most affected by climate change
Gilbert Houngbo, the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a UN agency based in Rome, said that the problem of migration was likely to increase among small farmers exposed to global warming.
However, this is particularly the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where population growth is very rapid and the agricultural resources are insufficient to feed the population.
The climate refugees number could be reduced by as much as 80% if the policies regarding the greenhouse gas emissions reduction and other anti-climate-change measures will be widely implemented.