Report says ‘mass migration triggered by climate change’ won’t happen

Saturday, February 5, 2011

LONDON - A new report has said that fears that climate change will trigger mass migrations from one part of the world to another are baseless.

The study by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said that people move for a variety of reasons, not just because of changes in climate.

Lead author Cecilia Tacoli said most displaced people wanted to stay as near home as possible, adding that most stayed within their own borders, although there was a serious lack of information within countries facing widespread internal migration about the numbers involved.

However, if sea levels rose as predicted, there would be many international environmental refugees from small island states.

“Environmental change undoubtedly increases the number of people mobile,” the BBC quoted her as saying.

“But catastrophe like droughts and floods tend to overlap with social and structural upheaval, like the closure of other sources of local employment that might have protected people against total dependence on the land,” she said.

“Of course we need to act on climate change, and rich nations have a moral obligation to help poor people affected by it. But it’s often easier and quicker to address the socio-economic factors.”

Tacoli said the absence of data in countries facing most internal migration made it impossible to verify these figures.

A UN Environment Programme spokesman said, “The scale and pace of environmental change, from climate to the loss of forests, freshwaters and other key ecosystems, is increasing the vulnerability of humanity. Many scientists are also now warning of ‘tipping points’ that could trigger irreversible changes to the planet’s life-support systems.” (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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