Climate Change Displaces Millions Of People

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tsunami by Petra Bensted via flickr

Last year, 15 million people were displaced due to weather-related disasters last year – almost twice as many as those who fled due to war and conflict.

Unless governments take strong preventive action and invest in adaptation, climate change-related phenomena such as floods, droughts, famines, and hurricanes could push the total number of permanently displaced people as high as 250 million people, between now and 2050. These figures are published in a new report by CARE Danmark, which is launched today in connection with the UNFCCC climate summit, COP22 in Morocco.

CARE Danmark’s new report, Fleeing Climate Change: Impacts on migration and displacement, outlines three scenarios for how different levels of temperature increase due to climate change will affect human migration and displacement. At COP22, world’s leaders must discuss how people affected by climate change can build their resilience, adapt and migrate with dignity.

Sarah Kristine Johansen, political coordinator for CARE Danmark, says:

“It will be nothing less than a catastrophe if the world’s governments leave millions of poor people without support when climate change alters their lives forever. Fortunately, we know some of the solutions. Economically, it pays off to invest now and not wait for people to need emergency aid and compensation for having lost everything. Studies carried out for CARE in Kenya and Niger show that for every dollar invested in adapting agriculture to climate change, farmers enjoy benefits worth four dollars in return. I call that common sense.”

With regard to the negotiations at COP22, CARE welcomes recent progress on the future of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage through the expected adoption of the outlines of a 5year work plan and agreement to make the mechanism permanent. However, financial support for countries and communities suffering from climate impacts lags far behind the climate impacts and loss and damage that is already happening, and a comprehensive legal framework to address displacement is still missing.

Kit Vaughan, Director of CARE’s Climate work, commented on the actual COP22 negotiations:

“The UNFCCC Paris Agreement is now international law, and we welcome that the new loss and damage plan includes work on climate change displacement. It requires countries to address loss and damage from climate change impacts more seriously. But this must be underpinned by new and additional finance provided by developed countries. This is a matter of equity and of tackling historical responsibilities, and we expect to see clear commitments to ramp up finance at the ministerial meeting today at COP22.”

Download the report here:

Fleeing Climate Change: Impacts on Migration and Displacement

Executive summary available here: http://careclimatechange.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Executive-Summary_Migration.pdf