A new report by the World Bank shows that the effects of climate change could force 140 million people to move within their countries by 2050.
The report looked at three developing regions of the world � sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America � and found that unless urgent action is taken, the regions will likely have to deal with tens of millions of so-called climate migrants.
Climate migrants are people who are forced to move within their country because of water scarcity, crop failure, rising sea levels and storm surges due to climate change.
The report shows that with strong global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and good development planning in each country, the number of climate migrants could be reduced dramatically � from a projected 140 million people to 40 million people by 2050.
We have a small window now, before the effects of climate change deepen, to prepare the ground for this new reality, World Bank chief executive officer Kristalina Georgieva said about the new research.
She said it is important to help people make good decisions about whether to stay where they are or move to new locations where they are less vulnerable.
The report noted that the effects of climate change will often force people to move from rural areas suffering from droughts or crop failures to cities where there are different opportunities. However, it noted that cities must take the time to plan for the possibility for greater influxes of people.
Without the right planning and support, people migrating from rural areas into cities could be facing new and even more dangerous risks, said Kanta Kumari Rigaud, the report's team lead.
We could see increased tensions and conflict as a result of pressure on scarce resources, Rigaud added.
The report recommends key actions to help prevent wide-scale climate migration: cutting global greenhouse gas emissions; improving development planning at the local level for climate migration; and investing in data to better understand climate migration trends in each country.
The report notes that any upsurge in climate migration will be in addition to millions of other migrants within countries, moving for economic, social, political or other reasons.
Source: Voice of America