Climate change likely to cause mass migration in Asia-Pacific region
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Characterized by high population density and long coastlines, the Asia-Pacific region will bear a disproportionate amount of the impact of future climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
With this in mind, the Asian Development Bank is warning countries to prepare for an influx of climate refugees throughout the 21st century.
Six of the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change -- Bangladesh, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Afghanistan and Myanmar -- are located in Southeast Asia, and nearly one-third of the region's population lives in at-risk areas.
In the past few years alone, climate-related catastrophes have displaced millions in Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
Those events will only increase in frequency as global warming pushes ocean levels higher, changes precipitation patterns and leads to longer, more intense dry spells.
"Given that climate change acts as an aggravating factor for environmental degradation, it is expected to boost the number of people migrating because of environmental changes, both sudden and slow onset," stated the bank, in a study released this week. "Though the amplitude of these movement remains difficult to forecast, climate change is likely to become a major driver of migration in the 21st century."
The study did not make specific projections for how many people would be displaced by climate change specifically, noting that a wide array of factors, including poverty levels, contribute to mass migration (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, March 13). -- NM
Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net. 202-628-6500
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