Environment

1 in 3 people worldwide could become climate migrants by 2070: Social scientist

Mass migration movements will likely become more frequent, with rising impact of food and water scarcity, says Turkish sociologist studying effects of climate change

Dilan Pamuk   | 10.05.2022
1 in 3 people worldwide could become climate migrants by 2070: Social scientist Activists hold a banner to protest the climate change impact amid tidal flooding in the Muara Angke Port area, in Jakarta, Indonesia. ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

ISTANBUL

In less than 50 years, the growing frequency of extreme weather events could make one out of every three people worldwide into climate migrants, a Turkish social scientist warned.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Suzan Ilik Bilben of the Migration Research Foundation in the Turkish capital Ankara stressed the impact of climate change on the lives of future generations as well as on vulnerable communities.

"Extremely hot regions, which cover less than 1% of the Earth's continental surface, are expected to grow to one in five by 2070, potentially displacing one in three people," noted Bilben, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology, focusing on migrants and climate change.

Unpredictable and increasingly unstable precipitation patterns, stronger and longer-lasting heat waves, and worse droughts also make farming more difficult, she added.

With the rising impact of food and water scarcity and heat waves on communities, mass migration movements will likely grow more frequent, added Bilben, who is also a research assistant at Akdeniz University in Antalya, on the Turkish Mediterranean.

On possible routes of climate migration, she said that nearly 143 million people living in hot climates in Latin America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa will be internally displaced as climate change fuels the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

In addition to droughts and food insecurity, more than 150 million people worldwide might be displaced due to sea level rise alone, said Bilben.

She also said that Turkiye could be the third most-affected country by climate change, as it is located in the Mediterranean basin, which is among the more fragile regions.

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