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Climate change could force migration of 216 million people: World Bank

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Climate change could lead to massive migration and displacement of people, says the World Bank (Photo: Rahul Kumar)

The World Bank has issued a grim warning through its latest findings that climate change impacts could force a massive migration of nearly 216 million people within their own countries by 2050.

The World Bank's Groundswell 2.0 report, which has modeled the impacts of climate change on six regions, says that people will begin to migrate by 2030 and this will intensify by 2050. This movement of people due to a deteriorating environment will hit the poorest on the planet.

The Vice President of Sustainable Development, World Bank, Juergen Voegele, said: "The Groundswell report is a stark reminder of the human tolls of climate change, particularly on the world's poorest those who are contributing the least to its causes".

  • The report says that South Asia could see as many as 40 million displaced people.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa could witness around 86 million internal climate migrants
  • Migration in North Africa could touch 19 million
  • East Asia and the Pacific region could see more than 49 million migrations
  • Latin America will have nearly 17 million
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia will witness 5 million

The number of climate migrants could go up substantially as the report has left out most of the high-income countries, the Middle East region and the small island states--one of the most vulnerable regions.

The report takes note of the current problems that plague the world--conflicts and the scourge of coronavirus. It says that conflicts and pandemic situations could compound the situation.

An interesting observation in the report is the fact that both places--the deserted regions as well as those where the climate refugees will relocate--will be impacted by the migration.

The World Bank has suggested immediate solutions to avert the crisis. Green, inclusive, and resilient development, could reduce the scale of migration by 80 per cent.

The Groundswell 2.0 report says that reduction in global emissions and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement will help contain the crisis.

It also says that promoting the greenhouse effect along with a push for resilient and inclusive development planning will help to mitigate climate change impacts.

Talking about the report, Voegele said: "It also clearly lays out a path for countries to address some of the key factors that are causing climate-driven migration. All these issues are fundamentally connected, which is why our support to countries is positioned to deliver on climate and development objectives together while building a more sustainable, safe, and resilient future".

The report comes weeks before the Glasgow climate change summit is set to take place. It also happens at a time when the world is witnessing an enthusiastic US under the leadership of Joe Biden in taking up the cause of environment and climate mitigation.

The report is a wake-up call to national leaders and the international agencies to do more towards restoring ecosystems, reducing the development gap and cut down toxic emissions.