Monday, March 22, 2010

Environmental refugees and global warming

Science Daily: Climate change and environmental degradation are likely to trigger increased migration in Sub-Saharan Africa with potentially devastating effects on the hundreds of millions of especially poor people, according to a paper in the International Journal of Global Warming.

Environmental changes are especially pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), explain Ulrike Grote of the Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade, at the Leibniz University of Hannover, and Koko Warner of the United Nations University Institute of Environmental and Human Change in Bonn, Germany. Today, degradation is a serious problem for 32 countries in Africa, and a third of a billion people already face water scarcity.

Grote and Warner have analysed the latest data on environmental factors to determine what changes are most likely to trigger migration in SSA. They point to evidence from different branches of research, environmental sciences, migration research as well as development economics. They focus specifically on the effects on four countries: Ghana, Mozambique, Niger, and Senegal covering different regions in SSA. They are characterised by very different natural resource endowments, population and country sizes, political situations and environmental influences, thus providing very different pictures of migration.

In 2005, 34 of the 50 least developed countries were located in Africa, the researchers explain, in 2004, 41% of the population in SSA lived in extreme poverty. Almost a third of the population had to live with insufficient food from the years 2001 to 2003, while violent conflict between 1993 and 2002 prevailed in 27 out of 53 African states. Two thirds of Africa is covered by desert or dry land.

"Against this background, it is not surprising that Africa accounts for 12% of the world's population, hosts around 28% of the world's refugees and almost 50% of the world's internally displaced persons," the researchers say….

From November 2008, displaced persons outside of temporary shelter in Congo. Kibati camp is between the government forces postions and the CNDP rebels, about a kilometer separates them. Shot by Julien Harneis, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

1 comment:

Duncan said...

Suspicious statistics alert!

2/3 of Africa is covered by desert or dry land. ... and most of that is called the Sahara. The whole article carefully circumscribes the study's scope to be sub-Saharan Africa, so why throw in this statistic?

Actually... Senegal, Ghana and Mozambique are hardly representative of the majority of sub-Saharan Africa, and Niger is actually Saharan if I remember my geography.

What kind of advocacy junk science is being fobbed off here?