Climate change is having an impact on people all over the world. Floods, droughts, and forest fires are just a few of the dramatic climate events that are devastating communities and uprooting people’s lives globally. What can people do in response to such issues? There’s one obvious answer: Move. And indeed, that appears to be what they’re doing. According to The Guardian, the World Bank estimates that over 140 million people are expected to relocate between now and 2050 unless the environment around them is significantly improved.
It’s expected that the migration will mostly stem from climate change hitting three particular areas—sub-Saharan Africa (where approximately 86 million people are likely to be displaced), south Asia (40 million) and Latin America (17 million). Together, these three regions account for about 55 percent of the developing world. As climate change strikes these areas, people will quickly migrate away from vulnerable pockets of land into safer ones, creating “hotspots” where tens of millions of people will have to share slums.
“Climate change-driven migration will be a reality, but it does not need to be a crisis, provided we take action now and act boldly,” World Bank senior climate change director John Roome told The Guardian. “Local planners need to make sure the resources are made available, and to make sure it takes place in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.”
Roome listed a few concrete steps that governments can take to halt the impact of climate change. Among them: backing stronger programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate climate change migration into national development planning and investing in data analysis that will help in future planning development.
The impact of this work, he said, could be very significant. While current climate trends point to the likely forced migration of 140 million, that number could be reduced if governments worldwide make an effort. Better protections for climate-vulnerable areas and more advanced future planning could prevent 65 million people or more from needing to move in the coming years.