Climate refugees to desperately search for homes

Climate refugees to desperately search for homes

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Dhaka, Jun 30 – By 2060, around 1.4 bn people could be climate refugees, driven from low-lying coastal cities by sea level rise, says a new study.By 2100, as the global population may have reached 11bn, there could be 2bn climate refugees, it says.
To feed those 9 to 11 bn people expected in the second half of the century, farmers will have to grow as much food in 40 years as they have grown in the last 8,000 or so.
And in a world of accelerating sea level rise and climate change, in which farmland is being degraded and turned to desert, in which ever more land is set aside for carbon storage in the form of forest, and in which the strains of survival increase social divisions and social conflict, there is a new challenge: where will the 2bn climate refugees find new homes?
“The colliding forces of human fertility, submerging coastal zones, residential retreat, and impediments to inland resettlement are a huge problem,” Charles Geisler, professor emeritus of development sociology at Cornell University, in New York state was quoted as saying.
In any concerted attempts to contain climate change and limit global warming, climate scientists have to consider two big things. One is: how to drastically reduce fossil fuel use. The other is: how to use the land surface so that it takes up atmospheric carbon dioxide most efficiently.
Professor Geisler and his co-author Ben Currens, an earth and environmental scientist at the University of Kentucky, look at the big picture of land use in the long term.
They report in the journal Land Use Policy that they considered the implications of an ever faster rate of global sea level rise, as atmospheric temperatures warm and glaciers melt.
A study in Nature Climate Change has just confirmed that the seas that in the last century were rising by on average 2.2mm a year are now rising by 3.3mm a year.
“Although reclaiming land from oceans has been an important human project for millennia,” write Geisler and Currens in their study, “it seems that oceans are now ‘reclaiming’ the land.”
They start from the premise that global mean sea level rise will continue beyond 2100, and from the prediction that for every 1°C of climate warming, humans should expect an eventual 2.3 metre rise in sea levels.
In 2000, around 630 million people lived in low-lying coastal zones.
By 2060, this number could have risen to 1.4bn. In the worst case scenario, the two scientists reason, almost all who dwell on the low-lying coasts will become climate refugees.
And, although President Trump has declared climate change a hoax and is to take the US out of the Paris Agreement of 2015 in which the world’s nations undertook to reduce fossil fuel use and contain global warming to less than 2°C, the two authors think there is no other answer, according to a message UNB received from Climate News Network, London.
“The pressure is on us to contain greenhouse gas emissions at present levels. It’s the best ‘future proofing’ against climate change, sea level rise and the catastrophic consequences likely to play out on coasts, as well as inland, in the future,” said Professor Geisler. – UNB

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