World Bank Projects 216 Million Climate Refugees by 2050

Image: Air Force Magazine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor

A new report published by the World Bank, titled Groundswell Part II, warns that 216 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050. People in places with rapidly rising sea levels, water scarcity, and increasing crop failure face higher risk of displacement. The report also found that more “hotspots” for climate migration will appear by 2030. The World Bank says that avoiding a humanitarian crisis the likes of which the world has never seen will require immediate action by world governments to reduce carbon emissions.

 

Why This Matters: Mass climate migration will put pressure on systems across the globe, including food and water resources. Already, 20 million climate refugees have been driven from their homes. Still, most wealthy nations, which are greatly responsible for climate change, are unprepared or unwilling to support climate refugees. The UN and other advocacy organizations warn that without efforts from wealthy nations to raise global climate ambition and sustain resources under immense pressure, climate migration could become incredibly destabilizing

 

Growing Movement

Climate migration “hotspots,” the report predicts, will primarily emerge in: Sub-Saharan Africa, which could account for 86 million migrants; East Asia and the Pacific, producing 49 million; and South Asia, where 40 million could face displacement. The report warns that changing populations and migration itself could put pressure on resources and communities already strained by climate problems of their own.

 

“We’re already locked into a certain amount of warming, so climate migration is a reality,” said Kanta Kumari Rigaud, the bank’s Lead Environment Specialist and co-author of the report. The report concludes that by taking immediate action to reduce emissions, close development gaps, and restore ecosystems, the world could reduce future climate migration by 80%, which totals approximately 44 million people. 

 

The report, however, did not account for climate refugees in most wealthier nations or those in the Middle East and small island states. For instance, residents in the US have been forced to flee their homes due to hurricanes and wildfires across the nation. “We have to reduce or cut our greenhouse gases to meet the Paris target,” said Rigaud, “because those climate impacts are going to escalate and increase the scale of climate migration.”

Up Next

Over 50% of Young People Very Worried About Climate and Say They Feel Betrayed by Governments

Over 50% of Young People Very Worried About Climate and Say They Feel Betrayed by Governments

By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Young people worldwide are feeling chronic stress about the climate crisis, a new study shows. The largest study on young people’s climate anxiety to date surveyed thousands of 16 to 25-year-olds from the UK, Finland, France, US, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, India, the Philippines, and Nigeria. It found that young […]

Continue Reading 408 words
A Record 227 Climate Defenders were Killed in 2020

A Record 227 Climate Defenders were Killed in 2020

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Over 200 environmental activists were murdered in 2020 while protecting lands and waters across the world, averaging more than four deaths per week and setting a new record. Even as emissions dipped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, defenders of the planet faced increasing violence across the world. Now, experts […]

Continue Reading 461 words
Disability Advocates Urge Governments to Prioritize Accessibility in Climate Action

Disability Advocates Urge Governments to Prioritize Accessibility in Climate Action

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Disability advocates are urging governments to ensure accessibility in climate action and climate resilience plans after a summer of natural disasters highlighted the disproportionate impact climate change has on disabled people worldwide. The push comes as environmental groups raise concerns about the safety and equity of the upcoming COP26 […]

Continue Reading 514 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.