‘Climate Refugees’ or ‘Environmentally Induced Migration’?

A map from the report of changing run-off patterns and population densities

A map from the report of changing run-off patterns and population densities

The New York Times recently reported on a new study which documents and forecasts the increasing prevalence of large-scale, climate change-induced displacement and migration of human populations. The bulky document is authored by a host of heavy-hitting agencies, including the United Nations, CARE, and Columbia University. As Tom Zeller points out, the report is packed with rich maps and comprehensive data. I also like it for it’s emphasis on the unique problems posed by rapid urbanization of human populations.

By 2050 when human population is projected to peak, some 9 billion people will live on Earth. The majority of them will live in urban areas with crushing environmental footprints. Many megacities are located in areas prone to sea level rise. Climate change will visit urban and rural areas alike with increasingly frequent and violent hazard events. Flooding, intense storms, or droughts, or more gradual but significant changes in regional climates place great stress on livelihood systems. These pressures will contribute to migration and displacement, along with myriad other factors.

Read the full report here.

Read the Times article here.

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