More than one billion people could be displaced in the next 30 years due to climate crisis, conflict, and civil unrest, a new report said.
The Ecological Treat Register released last week by the Institute for Economics and Peace in Australia warned that the world’s poorest communities will greatly suffer the impacts of the crisis.
The study projected that 1.2 billion people from “countries least likely to cope with extreme ecological shocks” could be displaced from their homes by 2050.
“Ecological threats and climate change pose serious challenges to global development and peacefulness,” read the report.
“The adverse impacts will disproportionately affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” it added.
Yearly, an average of 24 million people is displaced due to ecological disasters while seven million are displaced due to armed conflict.
The report said that the the annual rate continues the world will see the largest mass migration in history.
“Population displacement due to ecological threats and climate change could regularly surpass the European migration crisis of 2015,” said the report.
The report said that 19 countries with the highest number of ecological threats are among the world’s 40 least peaceful countries including Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Chad, India, and Pakistan.
Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa are the regions facing the largest number of ecological threats.
The study identified Pakistan, with 220 million people, as the country with the largest number of people at risk, followed by Iran with 84 million people at risk.
“Even small events could spiral into instability and violence leading to mass population displacement, which in turn would have negative implications for regional and global security,” the report added.
Steve Killelea, founder of IEP, said that without urgent global cooperation lack of access to food and water will only increase in the coming years
“In the absence of action, civil unrest, riots, and conflict will most likely increase,” he said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic “is already exposing gaps in the global food chain.”
The report said about 3.5 billion people could suffer from food insecurity by 2050, which is an increase of 1.5 billion people from today.
Currently, more than two billion people globally face uncertain access to sufficient food for a healthy life.
“Both hunger and food insecurity have increased since 2014, with an additional 300 million people now facing food insecurity,” the report added.
Sierra Leone, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, and Lesotho are the five “most food-insecure countries” where more than half of the population “experience uncertainty in access to sufficient food to be healthy.”
“COVID-19 has exacerbated levels of food insecurity and given rise to substantial price increases, highlighting potential volatility caused by future ecological change,” the report said.
The report also projected that by 2040, a total of 5.4 billion people will experience “high or extreme water stress.”
On the opening of the Season of Creation this month, Pope Francis reiterated that human beings must “find just and sustainable ways” of living to protect “Our Common Home.”
“Our constant demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting the natural world,” noted the pontiff.
He said the human family must find “ways that satisfy everyone with a sufficiency, without destroying the ecosystems that sustain us.”