Migration Patterns

Climate change and forced migration: Observations, Projections and Implications

Author : Oli Brown | 2007
Published By: Human Development Report Office

As early as 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that the greatest single impact of climate change might be on human migration—with millions of people displaced by shoreline erosion, coastal flooding and agricultural disruption.2 Since then, successive reports have argued that environmental degradation, and in particular climate change, is poised to become a major driver of population displacement—a crisis in the making. In the mid 1990s it was widely reported that up to 25 million people had been forced from their homes and off their land by a range of serious environmental pressures including pollution, land degradation, droughts and natural disasters. At the time it was declared that these ‘environmental refugees’, as they were called (see box 1), exceeded all documented refugees from war and political persecution put together.3 The 2001 World Disasters Report of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies repeated the estimate of 25 million current ‘environmental refugees’. And in October 2005 the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security warned that the international community should prepare for 50 million environmental refugees by 2010.

URL : https://www.iisd.org/pdf/2008/climate_forced_migration.pdf

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