The UN’s Gloomy Forecast for Global Warming Refugees

refugee campPhoto:
Image: Mark Knobil

A new report prepared in advance of the largest ever conference on climate change, details the findings of a two year preliminary study regarding how people react migrationally to changing climates. The conference, sponsored by the UN, will be held in Bonn, Germany and will be attended by over 600 experts and representatives of almost 80 nations. One of the areas of concern to be discussed at the conference is environmental based migration and the problems to poses.

Image: waterwin

One of the reasons this problem is being taken so seriously is the projected increase in global temperatures over the coming decades. Increased temperatures will see the displacement of up to 10% of the world’s population who live in areas vulnerable to increased sea levels and drastic, unpredictable changes in storm intensity and weather patterns – deserts could become rainforests and rainforests could become deserts.

The research presented in this report focused on three areas where the effects of environmental degradation are already occuring:

Desertification and sea-level rise in Egypt, flooding of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, and flooding and subsequent government relocation programs in Mozambique. The scientists surveyed current migrants, members of receiving populations, and people who felt pressured to migrate but had not yet done so. The surveyors found much to be concerned by.

refugee womenPhoto:
Image: Mark Knobil

The report concluded:

“… as some environments become inhospitable to people, these people are pushed to move elsewhere where their locally specific knowledge may no longer apply to the places where they migrate. Displaced people may not always receive the support they need in places of destination. For those displaced to locations where adequate infrastructure is not available and where they are directly dependant on the environment for survival, there can be an over-exploitation of natural resources leading to a lack of potable water, soil degradation, cutting of trees and clearing of land, but also to pollution and potential epidemics. Under such circumstances, a range of maladaptive activities can drive migrants to further stress ecosystems, and may unleash a number of additional environmental catastrophes.”

child refugeePhoto:
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Essentially, an indeterminably large section of the world’s population has a good chance of being thrown into chaos unless we can either figure out how to stop global warming or the 600 experts and 80 countries at this conference decide on ideal routes to successfully resettle millions of vulnerable people before nature does it for them.