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Opinion

Climate Change-Driven Migration in India Could Triple by 2050: Report

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More than 62 million people in South Asia may have to migrate from their homes due to slow-onset climatic disasters such as rising sea levels, water stress, reduced crop yields, loss of ecosystems and drought by 2050, according to a new report from Climate Action Network South. Asia (CANSA) and Action Aid International.

In India, an estimated 14 million people may have migrated this year due to slowly evolving climate change events, according to the report. This number is expected to more than triple if current nationally determined contributions are not improved and the world heads toward a warming of 3.2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

The research was conducted by Bryan Jones, one of the authors of the World Bank’s Groundswell Report on internal climate migration in 2018. It uses a model that projects future changes in the spatial distribution of the population, from which the migrations caused are estimated for climate change. drawn. Ecosystem loss and drought have been added as new drivers of climate migration, along with the water and agriculture sectors that were included in the Groundswell report.

Read also | ‘India will hit targets, exceed expectations’: Prime Minister Modi at UN Climate Ambition Summit

These figures do not include migration caused by sudden weather disasters, such as floods and cyclones, and the report also assumes that countries will begin to take action to meet their commitments and targets under the Paris Agreement. Some examples of sudden weather disasters that have led to large-scale migration in the recent past include Cyclone Sidr in 2007 which caused $ 1.5 billion worth of damage in Bangladesh; Amphan earlier this year caused losses of $ 13 billion and 118 lives; Cyclone Bulbul, again in West Bengal last year, damaged crops on nearly 1.5 million hectares of land, damaged $ 100 million in fisheries and killed 13,286 head of cattle. However, in India, more than 60% of agriculture is rainfed. Thus, rural communities in the region are highly sensitive to crop-destroying climatic impacts and 99.3% of South Asian agricultural workers are informal labor, making them more vulnerable.

Climate Change-Driven Migration in India Could Triple by 2050: Report

“Slowly evolving climate impacts could cause South Asian countries to lose almost 2% of their GDP by 2050, increasing to a loss of almost 9% by 2100, not counting losses due to extreme weather events,” published the report on Friday has said. Some climatic hot spots will experience displacement due to rising uninhabitable temperatures, river erosion, and rising seas such as the Sundarbans or the Mahanadi Delta.

In its study of migration patterns, the report found that the poor in South Asia often sell their belongings and borrow at predatory interest rates to finance their migration. Forced movement often takes people to nearby urban areas and then to megacities where they are forced to accept low-paying unskilled jobs. Most of the internal movement within South Asia is considered seasonal or circular migration, in which some members of the families migrate during a period of the year to another rural area or urban center, falling agricultural incomes and rural communities of South Asia is also causing a combination of farm income and remittances sent by migrant family members.

“The political failure to limit global warming to below 2 degrees C, under the Paris agreement target, is already driving 18 million climate migrants from their homes by 2020. A new analysis, released today, estimates that migration Climate will triple in South Asia alone, a region severely affected by weather disasters that include floods, droughts, typhoons and cyclones, according to a CANSA statement.

Harjeet Singh, Action Aid’s global climate leader, said migration patterns emerged from the 2011 census have been used to model the impacts of climate change on the movement of people for the report. “The Indian government has not yet realized the reality of climate change. You do not know to what extent people and livelihoods will be affected. We need to take into account various climate scenarios for the policies we develop, which is not happening. Rich countries have a historical responsibility, but we have to prepare for the future ”.

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