Climate change will displace millions of people - do we need to rethink attitudes to mass migration?

Mass migration towards the Earth’s poles will help humanity survive the climate crisis, in keeping with a latest book.

The planet could warm by greater than 4 degrees Celsius by the top of the twenty first century.

This may leave vast areas of land uninhabitable and force tens of millions of individuals to seek out latest homes, warns writer and climate journalist Caia Vince.

In her latest book Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World, she argues that we must always ditch outdated border controls and embrace mass migration.

“People can have to maneuver (from) unliveable places,” she said at a Royal Society of Arts talk on Thursday.

“We want to administer migration in order that it isn’t a catastrophe… but a secure, productive transition right into a sustainable future.”

How many individuals can have to migrate due to climate crisis?

The changing climate is already forcing people to desert their homes.

In response to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), around 21.5 million people have been forcibly displaced by weather-related events since 2008.

The Institute for Economics and Peace – a London based think tank – estimates that around 1.2 billion people might be displaced by climate change over the following 30 years.

As floods, fires, and heatwaves turn out to be more common, some regions of the planet will turn out to be borderline uninhabitable.

Vince cites Mumbai – where 9 million people live in slum housing – for example.

“There is no such thing as a way that these 9 million people can have air con of their slums,” she says, adding that they commonly face power outages during heatwaves.

“This can be the case large parts of Bangladesh, also the case for places across Africa, across the Americas, there are places that won’t have the opportunity to adapt to those extreme temperatures.”

How should we cope with climate migration?

Migration to northern latitudes is inevitable, Vince says – and it shouldn’t be seen as a nasty thing.

Populist governments… principally use migrants as a scapegoat for all the things, for job problems, for failing social security and welfare systems,” she says.

“But so many studies show that migrants increase the wealth, increase the productivity of cities where they integrate well.”

This influx of individuals will enrich cities in the worldwide north, the writer argues. For instance, it could help fix demographic problems in places like Europe where the population is step by step ageing.

The climate journalist poses numerous different solutions. One option is for the United Nations to supply ‘global citizenship’ to people, a category that might operate alongside existing national citizenships.

On a national level, governments should allow latest arrivals to work, legally pay taxes, and take part in society.

Will the earth warm by 4 degrees?

Within the 2015 Paris agreement, the international community agreed to try to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But in keeping with the Climate Motion Tracker, we’re on the right track for two.7 degrees of warming by 2030.

The earth could plausibly warm by 4 degrees, Vince says, as we pass ‘trigger points’ sparking vicious cycles of irreversible change.

If permafrost – which covers 1 / 4 of the landmass within the Northern hemisphere – thaws, it should release huge amounts of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere.

“There may be actually quite a serious risk that we do hit these catastrophic temperatures,” Vince warns.

“We must be honest with people about exactly what we’re facing.”

These risks make it all of the more urgent to overhaul our migration systems.

“The long run could be very much unwritten… now we have many possibilities,” she says.


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