Monday, September 19, 2011

More than 30 million climate migrants in Asia in 2010

Fiona Harvey in the Guardian (UK): More than 30 million people were displaced last year by environmental and weather-related disasters across Asia, experts have warned, and the problem is only likely to grow worse as climate change exacerbates such problems.

Tens of millions more people are likely to be similarly displaced in the future by the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, floods, droughts and reduced agricultural productivity. Such people are likely to migrate in regions across Asia, and governments must start to prepare for the problems this will create, the Asian Development Bank warned.

The costs will be high – about $40bn is the likely price for adapting and putting in place protective measures, from sea walls to re-growing mangrove swamps that have been cut down, and that can help to protect against the impacts of storm surges.

But the problem is already taking effect, though at a much lower scale than is likely in the future. "While large-scale climate-induced migration is a gradual phenomenon, communities in Asia and the Pacific are already experiencing the consequences of changing environmental conditions including eroding shorelines, desertification and more frequent severe storms and flooding," the bank said at a workshop last week. This could lead to a widespread crisis across the region in coming years, if preparations are not made to deal with the current and probable future consequences...

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