The number of people fleeing crop failures, droughts and rising sea levels will grow drastically over the next three decades if world governments do not intervene, according to a World Bank report released Monday.
By 2050, 86 million “climate migrants” will be displaced in Sub-Saharan Africa, 40 million in South Asia and 17 million in Latin America — 143 million in all — according to the report, which the bank said was the first to address the question of migration spurred by climate change.
These regions are home to more than half the developing world’s population, with 2.8 percent of inhabitants among those at risk, the report said.
So far climate change has inexorably become an “engine of migration,” forcing individuals, families and even whole communities to seek more viable homes, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva said in prepared remarks presenting the report.
“Every day, climate change becomes a more urgent economic, social and existential threat to countries and their people,” she said.
“The number of climate migrants could be reduced by tens of millions as a result of global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and with far- sighted development planning.”
The report’s authors conducted three case studies to quantify their findings. In Ethiopia, the population could almost double by 2050 while migration will rise due to diminishing harvests.
By that year in Bangladesh, climate migrants could be the single-largest group among all internally displaced persons.