Unless aggressive measures are taken to halt global warming, the consequences for human migration and displacement could reach a scope and scale that vastly exceed anything that has occurred before. Climate change is already contributing to migration and displacement. All major estimates project that the trend will rise to tens of millions of migrants in coming years. Within the next few decades, the consequences of climate change for human security efforts could be devastating. These are amongst the key findings of a new report entitled, “In Search of Shelter: Mapping the effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement”. The report was authored by UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), CARE International and Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). It was released to the media today during the Bonn Climate Change Talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The exact number of people that will be on the move by mid-century is uncertain. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates that there may be 200 million environmentally-induced migrants by 2050. “While human migration and displacement is usually the result of multiple factors, the influence of climate change in people’s decision to give up their livelihoods and leave their homes is growing” says Dr. Charles Ehrhart, CARE International’s Climate Change Coordinator and one of the report’s authors.
The May/June 2009 issue of Aramco World, the magazine of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, reports on two approaches that developing countries are taking to counter the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.
“Bangladesh’s Audacity of Hope” by Richard Covington covers plans by Fazle Hasan Abed, chairperson of a NGO in Bangladesh to train Bangladeshis to live and work overseas.
“But,” warns Abed, “global warming will create havoc in our country unless we can send more people abroad as emigrants.”… Abed opens a folder on his desk to show me an agreement signed only a few hours earlier with officials from Ryukyu University in Okinawa for an exchange of Bangladeshi and Japanese students and researchers. “Japan is rapidly losing population, so our proposal is to create Japanese-speaking Bangladeshi entrepreneurs who will eventually send workers to Japan,” he explains. “We could do the same for Korea, Spain, Italy and other countries that are facing aging societies—or even thinly populated places like Namibia,” he adds, calmly taking another puff.
“Rising the Maldives” by Larry Luxner discusses the raisied artificial island of Hulhumalé in the Maldives.
Yet man-made Hulhumalé neither looks nor feels anything like its natural sister islands. From its conception only eight years ago, in 1997, to its official inauguration on May 12, 2004, this work-in-progress is being meticulously planned to boost the country’s economic fortunes while staving off the rising seas that may one day wipe much of the world’s smallest Muslim nation off the map.