Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Climate displacement

“The frequency of natural disasters has increased by 42 percent since the 1980s, and the percentage of those that are climate-related has risen from 50 to 82 percent. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimates that in 2008, climate-related calamities drove 20 million people from their homes—more than four times the number displaced by violent conflict.”

- Scientific American, Casualties of climate change.

If the floods in Pakistan were related to climate change, then there is twenty million displaced in a single country in 2010, before we've considered anywhere else in the wettest year on record. The whole article is worth reading. Interestingly, it starts by pointing out that the patriarch Jacob/Israel was a refugee, moving his family to Egypt due to drought (Genesis 42-47).
H/T Bryan.


byron smith said...

Carbon Brief: Where are the climate refugees?

I note that the Pakistan floods displaced an estimated 20 million people last year. Further flooding since then has displaced millions more. The complex links between flooding (and extreme weather generally) and climate change illustrate one of the many difficulties in establishing a single number of refugees "caused" by climate change, but as the Carbon Brief article makes clear, climate change is a threat multiplier, contributing to a range of other factors that do lead to migrations and other forms of social/political instability.

byron smith said...

Worldwatch: Climate refugees - a human cost of climate change.

"The London-based Environmental Justice Foundation reports that around 26 million people worldwide have already had to move due to the effects of climate change, a figure that could grow to 150 million by 2050. The group estimates that as many as 500 to 600 million people—nearly 10 percent of the world’s population—are at risk from displacement."

byron smith said...

Guardian: Australia urged to recognise climate refugee status.