Devastating climate change could lead to 1m migrants a year entering EU by 2100

Devastating climate change could lead to 1m migrants a year entering EU by 2100

Climate change will drive a huge increase in the number of migrants seeking asylum in Europe if current trends continue, according to a new study.

The number of migrants attempting to settle in Europe each year will triple by the end of the century based on current climate trends alone, independent of other political and economic factors, according to the research. Even if efforts to curb global warming are successful, the number of applications for asylum could rise by a quarter, the authors predict.

Wolfram Schlenker, professor at the school of international and public affairs at Columbia University in New York, and lead author of the study, said: “Europe will see increasing numbers of desperate people fleeing their home countries.”

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who was not involved with the report, told the Guardian the results should be taken seriously by policymakers, though current forecasting models frequently fail to take such factors into account.

He said: “This study shows how Europe will be impacted by one of the most serious impacts of climate change. Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of people will be exposed to coastal sea level rise and shifts in extreme weather that will cause mass migrations away from the most vulnerable locations. We know from human history that such migrations often lead to conflict and war, with devastating consequences. The huge potential costs of migration-related conflict are usually omitted from economic models of climate change impacts in the future.”

Climate change is predicted to result in more droughts, floods, heatwaves, and other extreme weather, as well as more intense storms and rising sea levels. These effects are likely to render agriculture more difficult, if not impossible, across swathes of the globe, including sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.

These effects will also be felt in Europe, but its lower base temperatures, relative prosperity and advanced infrastructure mean the damage could be contained, and make it an attractive destination for migrants.

Source: The Guardian

Date: December 2017

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