‘Groundswell’: Modeling Climate Change Impacts on Internal Migration
Alex de Sherbinin, CIESIN associate director for Science Applications, and Susana Adamo, research scientist, played key roles in preparing the recent World Bank report, Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration. The report assesses the potential future impacts of climate change on migration within countries in Latin America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. It was developed by the World Bank Climate Change Group in partnership with CIESIN, the City University of New York (CUNY) Institute for Demographic Research, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
The Groundswell report focuses on the influence of medium- to long-term climate change impacts, including changes in crop production and water availability and sea level rise. Internal migration is inferred from projected changes in population distribution. This novel modeling approach identifies potential “hotspots” of climate-induced in- and out-migration in three regions―Mexico and Central America, East Africa, and South Asia—and also provides a basis for estimating the total number of migrants. Main messages from the report are:
• In a worst-case scenario, by 2050 there could be as many as 143 million internal climate migrants in the three regions.
• Governments should be aware of the potential for climate impacts to affect population distributions within their countries, and proactively plan in ways that facilitate local adaptation, while assisting those who need to move because of worsening conditions.
• Migration can be seen as a positive adaptation strategy, if supported by targeted policies and investments that avoid distress migration.
• The number of migrants can be reduced by three major actions: cutting greenhouse gases, incorporating climate migration in development planning, and investing in improved understanding of internal climate migration.
The report is available for free from the World Bank.
Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration