The report builds upon the previous report by modeling three scenarios — pessimistic, development-inclusive and climate friendly — across six regions: the Pacific and East Asia, South Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Kiribati, The Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu were all classed as “fragile” because of their governments’ predicted inability to address the risks. The combined effects of climate change, isolation, weak infrastructure, minimal economic opportunities and frequent natural hazards made them particularly vulnerable.
Pacific nations and territories are experiencing the realities of climate change already, such as increasing extremes in year-to-year El Niño and La Niña weather patterns, which can lead to droughts and water scarcity.
Climate-driven migration could be reduced by up to 80% if countries were to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, address gaps in development, restore ecosystems and build on ways to adapt to the realities of a changing climate. If not, “hotspots” for climate migration would being to appear within the next decade.
In the development inclusive scenario, 125.2 million fewer people could be displaced, 30.3 million fewer in the Pacific and East Asia; in the climate-friendly scenario, 30.9 million fewer people would be displaced in the region.
In August, the United Nations’ climate research group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released a report stating climate change was imminent and inevitable and that many of its effects would be irreversible in our lifetimes. It was “unequivocal” that humans were to blame for “widespread and rapid changes” in the climate, it stated.
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Thomas Heaton is a Li Center for Global Journalism Fellow. The position is supported by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Institute for Nonprofit News. You can reach him by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @thomasheaton.