Sunday, June 10, 2007

Prepare for a torrent of forced migrations

June 01, 2007
Climate Change Refugees (extended version)

As global warming tightens the availability of water, prepare for a torrent of forced migrations.


By Jeffrey D. Sachs


Human-induced climate and hydrologic change is likely to make many parts of the world uninhabitable, or at least uneconomic. Even if there are some "winners" from climate change perhaps farmers in high-latitude farm regions where the growing season will be extended by warmer temperatures there will also be large numbers of undeniable losers. Over the course of a few decades, if not sooner, hundreds of millions of people may be compelled to relocate because of environmental pressures.

To a significant extent, water will be the most important determinant of these population movements. Dramatic changes in the relationship between water and society will be widespread, as emphasized in the new report from Working Group II of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. These shifts may include rising sea levels, stronger tropical cyclones, the loss of soil moisture under higher temperatures, more intense precipitation and flooding, more frequent droughts, the melting of glaciers and the changing seasonality of snowmelt. Combined with the human-induced depletion of groundwater sources by pumping, and the extensive pollution of rivers and lakes, mass migrations may be unavoidable.




Impacts will vary widely across the world. It will be important to keep our eye on at least four zones: low-lying coastal settlements which are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels; farm regions which are dependent on rivers fed by glacier melt and snowmelt; sub-humid and arid regions which are likely to experience greater drought frequency; and humid areas in Southeast Asia vulnerable to changes in monsoon patterns.

A significant rise of sea levels, even by a fraction of a meter, much less by several meters, could wreak havoc for tens or even hundreds of millions of people. One recent study by Gordon McGranahan, Deborah Balk, and Bridget Anderson (2007) found that although coastal areas less than 10 meters above sea level constitute only 2 percent of the world's land area, they contain 10 percent of the world's population. (High-density urban settlements are commonly located on coastlines for convenient access to international trade.) These low-elevation coastal zones are highly vulnerable to storm surges and increased intensity of tropical cyclones  call it the New Orleans Effect.


Hundreds of millions of people may be compelled to relocate.


Regions much further inland will wither. Hundreds of millions of people, including many of the poorest farm households, live in river valleys where irrigation is fed by glacier melt and snowmelt. The glaciers are disappearing, and the annual snowmelt is coming earlier each year, synchronizing it less and less well with the summer growing season.

Thus, the vast numbers of farmers in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and in China's Yellow River Basin will most likely face severe disruptions in water availability. Yet those regions are already experiencing profound water stress due to unsustainable rates of groundwater pumping performed to irrigate large expanses of Northern China and Northern India. Surface water bodies in these regions are already over-appropriated and degraded.

In Africa, all signs suggest that currently subhumid and arid areas will dry further, deepening the food crisis for many of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. The severe decline in precipitation in the African Sahel during the past 30 years seems to be related to both anthropogenic warming and aerosol pollutants. The violence in Darfur and Somalia is fundamentally related to food and water insecurity. Cote d'Ivoire's civil war stems, at least in part, from ethnic clashes after masses of people fled the northern dry lands of Burkina Faso for the coast. Worse chaos could easily arise.




In Southeast Asia, each El Ni?o cycle brings drying to thousands of islands in the Indonesian archipelago, with attendant crop failures, famine and peat fires. Some climatologists hypothesize that global warming could induce a more persistent El Ni?o state; if so, the 200 million people in Indonesia and neighboring areas could experience lasting drought conditions.


Until now, the climate debate has focused on the basic science and the costs and benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That stage is now ending, with a resounding consensus on the risk of climate change and the need for action. Attention will now increasingly turn to the urgent challenge of adapting to the changes and helping those who are most affected.

Some hard-hit places will be salvaged by better infrastructure that protects against storm surges or economizes on water for agriculture. Others will shift successfully from agriculture to industry and services. Yet some places will be unable to adjust altogether, and populations are likely to suffer and to move. We are just beginning to understand these phenomena in quantitative terms. Economists, hydrologists, agronomists, and climatologists will have to join forces to take the next steps in scientific understanding.

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47 Comments:

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger Mark said...

And in addition it is likely that additional military conflicts and civil unrest may also result.

"a report for the US government warned in March that the US must prepare to intervene in a growing number of crises across the world brought on by climate change, such as water shortages, collapses in civil order and "the implosion of one or more major cities". Unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions and the expected temperature rise over the coming decades could provoke social unrest in vulnerable places from Delhi and Mexico City to Lima, said the report, by Global Business Network, a consultancy group in San Francisco.
"

Full story here:

http://talkclimatechange.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=102

http://www.talkclimatechange.com

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger USpace said...

Damn Bush! .
Support GLBT Rights! Fight back against those that stone gays to death! Democracy NOT Theocracy!

STOP KUFFARPHOBIA Demonstration at Whitehall in London, 12pm Friday 10/26/07!

I think we all must start calling the Islamofascists 'racists'. We should scream that they are hateful towards the Christian race, and the Jewish race, and the Hindu race, and the Atheist Race, that they are Christianityphobiasts. They will scream that Christianity is not a race, and we'll say:

"See, Islam is NOT a race either.
And by the way, the Bible doesn't say to convert, conquer or kill non-Christians; like the Koran says to do to non-Muslims. So there YOU RACIST hater of non-Muslims! You're a Kuffarphobic!"

Be careful all you in London Friday 10/26!

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don't call a spade a spade

Islamist terrorism
not related to Islam


absurd thought -
God of the Universe wants
many Taliban planets

stonings and beheadings
billions killed daily


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
be very afraid...

of saying the wrong things
TRUTH is especially BAD


http://absurdthoughtsaboutgod.blogspot.com

:)
. .

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Charles Letterman said...

Great blog, cheered me up no end.

The last post was over 4 months ago. Has it happened then? Have you been wiped off the face of the earth by the plague of locast you call climate change?

Don't accuse me of poisoning the planet - none of my 4 TVs are on stand-by. I've got all of them on full blast just in case I miss the news of the world's end.

www.charlesletterman.blogspot.com

 
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At 9:03 AM, Blogger ONNO said...

Just reading a National Geographic article on the pollution affecting the Yellow River, not to mention the drought they are encountering. Going to be scary world when water resources dry up.

Dagny
www.onnotextiles.com
bamboo clothing

 
At 4:23 AM, Blogger Robert Lee said...

Sadly it will always be the poor that suffer. The vulnerable will be pushed further into dispair.

Climate patterns are changing around the world. All one needs to do is watch the reports on TV (that's if you can afford one). Communication is such an important tool that we sometimes underestimate.

We are a not for profit organisation that is trying to promote domestic renewable energy through our challenge and ask people to pledge their support. ( www.ClimateChangeChallenge.org )

We need to stop polluting the world by burning fossil fuels and depend on the wonderful free resources such as wind and solar that are renewable and available to all mankind.

Blogs like these really help people from around the world to have a greater understanding of what's going on.

So well done for taking the time to write your blog.

If anyone can help our cause simply pledge your support, no cost involved, go to site and click on Pledge4REG.

Robert Lee
Founder director
www.ClimateChangeChallenge.org

 
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At 4:26 AM, Blogger 一能靜 said...

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At 4:20 PM, Blogger 請客 said...

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At 3:45 AM, Blogger 佩璇佩璇 said...

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At 5:49 AM, Blogger 毓燕毓燕 said...

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At 12:28 AM, Blogger 楊DodieSeaver0202 said...

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At 11:21 PM, Blogger 啟定 said...

死亡是悲哀的,但活得不快樂更悲哀。......................................................

 
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說「吃虧就是便宜的人」,多半不是吃虧的人。 ............................................................

 
At 1:31 AM, Blogger ElwoodK_Rank佳玲 said...

善言能贏得聽眾,善聽才能贏得朋友。 ............................................................

 
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I guess I will need a lot..................................................

 
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At 11:50 PM, Blogger 王瑞 said...

Pen and ink is wits plough.................................................................

 
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成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

 
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人生最可憐的是半途而廢,最可悲的是喪失信心,最遺憾的是浪費時間,最可怕的是沒有恆心。..................................................

 
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唯有穿鞋的人,才知道鞋的哪一處擠腳............................................................

 
At 1:55 AM, Blogger 祥明祥明 said...

人生最重要的一件事,就是從生活中認識你自己。.......................................................

 
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心中醒,口中說,紙上作,不從身上習過,皆無用也。..................................................

 
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聰明人之所以不會成功,是因為他們缺乏了堅忍的毅力。..................................................

 
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人不能像動物一樣活著,而應該追求知識和美德............................................................

 
At 1:24 AM, Blogger 家文婷谷 said...

活是一種鍛鍊靈魂的東西..................................................................

 
At 1:26 AM, Blogger 柏鈺苓俐 said...

Judge not a book by its cover.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger 張黃柏亞武茜 said...

Custom makes all things easy~~加油哦............................................................

 
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Say not all that you know, believe not all that you hear.......................................................................

 
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時時關心,時時感動。..................................................

 
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祝大家都平平安安健健康康!............................................................

 
At 5:33 AM, Blogger 麗王王珠 said...

你的分享很不錯.. 謝謝 ..................................................

 
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謝謝大大分享 我難過了ˋ 3ˊ............................................................

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger fanfan said...

唯有穿鞋的人,才知道鞋的哪一處擠腳......................................................................

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger zhenzhenwudi said...

我是天山,等待一輪明月。......................................................................

 
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Necessity is the mother of invention.......................................................................

 
At 7:14 AM, Blogger Anna Ashmore said...

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At 4:06 AM, Blogger Ali khan said...

great Article ---

Deserts are becoming Green

and Forest are becoming Deserts

its also Snowing in Deserts of Middle East for last few yrs.

and Amazon forest and India are facing severe Drought and Forest burnout for the last several yrs.

Climate is Definitely shifting

 

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