“Climate Migration” could displace millions of people in the next 30 years

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Extreme weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes along with crop failures and pollution could displace hundreds of millions of people in the next 30 years. That’s according to a new study released by the World Bank. We learned more about this coming “climate migration” from Valerie Mueller, of ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies.

“‘Climate migration’ can mean a bunch of things depending on who you ask, it can be reflective of Hurricane Katrina refugees which is somewhat involuntary or it could be someone…in a household that decided we’re having a bad year and we’re not going to make enough money from our yield and therefor someone in the household has to move somewhere else to make more money for the household,” Mueller said.

This isn’t just happening in the United States, it’s happening around the world.

“It is going to be significant, mainly because there are places that most of us would think are already inhabitable and if the threshold for temperatures changes a little by one or two degrees, that’s really going to devastate certain populations. So I’m thinking of populations in sort of the tropical areas where already it’s very difficult for them to maintain their livelihoods,” Mueller explained.

She continued that a lot of the climate migration we see happens within borders. And there will be a lot of pressure on the places that have a harder time regulating their resources.

In regards to labor markets, “fertility is going down so having more migration into a country may actually be somewhat desirable, it really just depends on sort of how much that additional change in migration is going to pressure those markets,” Mueller said.

She mentioned that for some places climate migration may be a good thing for their population and others, it could put real pressure on their resources.

Valerie Mueller, Associate Professor, ASU School of Politics & Global Studies

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