Climate Change and Its Impact on Migration Patterns around the World

11 April 2016 |

Groups of people move around the world over time. Usually, this has to do with economic sustainability, but there are also some other factors that come into place. One of these factors is climate change. Climate has a lot to do with the decisions people make when they have the freedom to move somewhere new because it affects the way people work and live. It’s part of their livelihood and the well-being of future generations. Recently, a report was released that showed climate changes has sparked a sudden increase in migration from the Pacific. The United Nations expects 200 million people will migrate by 2050, while some researchers expect that number to be much higher – a billion or more.

Trees in fog

Going from Habitable to Uninhabitable

Natural disasters are a serious problem for people around the world. Twenty million people had to leave their home, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center in Geneva, because of weather events that were considered natural disasters.

Due to climate changes, many places in the world are becoming uninhabitable. Some of these places are coastal Bangladesh and the Pacific Island nations. The droughts and rising seas in these places make it impossible for anyone to live there. Saltwater intrusion is another big problem for South Asia where farmlands make up most of the area. Freshwater supplies are limited, making people move seeking better lives.

While these places are some of the biggest in the migration, there are other island nations that are seeing desertion. Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu are also experiencing rising sea levels, saltwater intrusion, drought, and cyclones. According to surveys, 23 percent of the migrants from Kiribati and 8 percent of those from Tuvalu say the reason they are moving is because of climate related changes.

What Can Be Done

The U.N. brought up the problems facing many people around the world in 2007 when they said, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.”

As this continues, there needs to be a system in place to achieve global stability. Developed nations need to come together to help these places. They are being blamed for the climate changes due to pollution and other contributing factors, and the least they can do is donate funds to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund.

The United States has said it will donate $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. This amount is awaiting Congressional approval. Meanwhile, Present Barack Obama has met with the leaders of the most affected areas to come up with a global climate treaty. This treaty will attempt to reverse the worst effects of global warming.

One of Obama’s arguments is that there should be global financing for countries that have been affected by climate changes. These countries are often the ones that have the least effect on climate change. France is one of the countries that is involved in negotiations called COP21. Paris seeks to raise awareness that this problem isn’t the only one the Pacific is dealing with, it’s the world that’s affected by climate changes. As people migrate away from the Pacific, already densely populated cities will become even more crowded. This will then lead to higher rates of unemployment, homelessness, and many other societal issues.

The only way to keep the domino effect of climate change from occurring is to counteract the effects of it with funding from nations that have the money to support the Pacific. With money, Pacific nations are able to bring in the depleting resources, so people can continue to live in these places.

How Much Time Is Left

Global warming has been happening the past several years, and it’s not getting any better. As people continue to move into cities away from affected areas, the problems will continue to grow. The changes in funding need to happen now. It’s going to take time to fix the damage that has occurred over the past several years, and then be able to create an environment that can sustain itself on importations rather than on natural resources.

If this is acted upon quickly, the reports about migration will change and maybe enough to show an opposite flow. Instead of people moving away from these areas, there’s a chance they will start to move towards them. This could end up solving a lot of the problems across the world, especially in the cities that are dealing with all of the factors that contribute to global warming. The downward spiral will turn to an upward spiral, and that is what everyone would like for this world.