October 20, 2011
Climate Change Could Cause Mass Migrations In 2060
According to a new report, climate and other environmental changes will cause "major challenges" for world leaders over the next 50 years.
The researchers said the impact of climate change and degradation of land and oceans will play an increasingly important role in massive migrations in the future.Experts said governments must also be prepared for the millions who will be "trapped" in dangerous areas and for the vast numbers who will flock to vulnerable urban areas in search of work.
"It is essential that we do all we can to both address environmental change and make sure that people are as resilient as possible. This means recognizing the role migration can play in helping people cope," Professor Sir John Beddington, who commissioned the study, said in a press release.
The report warned that by 2060, the world's population will have reached its peak at about nine billion and lead to a greater demand on natural resources.
The report said that migration could help efforts to deal with climate change by enabling people to earn more money, which could then be sent back to family members in their home community.
The scientists found that between 114 million and 192 million more people were likely to be living in floodplains in urban areas of Africa and Asia by 2060.
The U.N. said last year that 210 million people migrated between countries, and in 2009 about 740 million people moved within countries.
The report urged governments to develop policies which help communities survive in new environmental conditions and cope with a growing population.
"Somewhere around 2060 it looks like the total world population will stabilize, which does give some degree of hope that one could have a sustainable world to live in," Beddington said in a press release. "But that is not to say in the next two, three or four decades aren't going to be extremely problematic ... there are really big problems and the resource problems are absolutely formidable.
"We have got to realize that this is central to the sort of millennium development goals which the UK and other developed world countries have signed up to, which is the reduction of global poverty. We can't do that if we ignore migration as an issue."
The study was led by Foresight in the Government Office for Science.
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