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.