Lesson Two: Migration out of Climate Change

The single-most challenge I am facing with respect to my inclination towards climate change science, is the slew of opinion from a set of politically inclined people who want to nullify the entire science claiming that climate change is real. They claim how even dinosaurs were eliminated naturally and how the earth undergoes periodic heating and cooling. Initially, I was largely disappointed and was entirely gone into a frenzy. Then, I realized and decided to talk myself into it being absolutely okay, there’s no right or wrong, there have been opinions and there will be opinions. I would rather uphold and propagate what I solely believe in. 

Watch my first video on Climate Change here. 👇

I want to be clear that I am aware of the natural cycles of Earth’s climate—about how there are ice ages and warmer interglacial periods. I agree 10000% with the fact that climate change is a natural phenomenon, because it is true. But I cannot blindfold myself to the fact that greenhouse gases have multiplied in the atmosphere ever since the industrial era and the resulting increase in CO2 in the atmosphere has become dangerous with the current circumstances and human population.

Before the Industrial Era, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 250-280 ppm. However, due to incessant human emissions throughout the Industrial Revolution, the carbon dioxide level shot up to a whopping 400-415ppm. 

For many, this isn’t a sign of concern, because obviously, climate change is a natural phenomenon and probably there’s nothing in our power to mitigate its effects. But I think otherwise. I am worried because today, the earth is populated and there are properties, human lives and economies at stake. Believe it or not, migration due to climate change is real. There are numerous instances of the land turning against the villagers, the rains not showing up for years and even, plates and bowls rendered empty due to unbearable shortage of food in rural areas.

In the 1990s, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed how one major impact of climate change on humans could be mass migration. Millions of people today are either living in shorelines and coasts or are largely dependent on agriculture as their source of income. First, let us understand the need for migration that occurs from climate.

Migration is a serious response to two types of events, one being climate processes- for which, migration is a response to an event that has been happening for over years and has culminated into something significant, like a sea-level rise, land erosion, deforestation and growing water scarcity due to overpopulation. The second being climate events—these are sudden natural calamities like tsunamis, floods and cyclones that force a large group of severely affected people consider migration. When we look at the larger picture, forced migration and displacement only result in increased pressure on cities and urban infrastructure, increases the list of conflicts and disputes and also leads to worsening health, along with educational and social pressure. For instance, many villagers from the Sundarbans have started migrating to the nearby cities in search of livelihood as the seawater became a constant visitor that greets them every day, right outside their doorstep.

By 2100, the accelerating increase in greenhouse affects in the atmosphere, that further drives a number of natural calamities will result in large scale migration, consequently leading to an increased population in the cities and a newfound pressure on the food, water and energy supplies. It is believed that in 2016 alone, about 24 million people got displaced from their hometowns due to sudden occurrence of natural calamities like cyclones and floods. However, we do not have much evidence and clarity on the number of people who migrate every year due to gradual climate processes like erosion, sea level rise or desertification. 

To conclude, we can safely say that a great deal of in-depth analysis and research is needed to better comprehend the issues at hand. Over the years, practitioners and climate change communicators have come up to raise awareness on this issue to attract some serious action from the government bodies against the crisis. In fact, in the last decade, many states around the world have considered migration as a major consequence of climate change and have identified it as a global challenge. Some agreements that are proactively addressing the migration out of climate change issue include the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Global Compact for Migration.

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