Climate change will cause hundreds of millions of environmental refugees according to a new report, from the aid agency Tearfund. The study, “Feeling the Heat“, says there are already an estimated 25 million environmental refugees, and this figure is likely to soar as rain patterns continue to change, floods and storms become more frequent and rising tides start to inundate low-lying countries such as Bangladesh or some of the Pacific islands.
Tearfund says that without urgent action, world governments will lose the fight to tackle the world water crisis and the growing threat of climate-change refugees in catastrophic numbers. The report calls for urgent government action at the UN Climate Change conference, beginning in Nairobi in a fortnight.
“There will be millions more thirsty, hungry and ill poor people living in high-risk areas of the world by the end of the century,” the report says. “It makes sense politically, economically and morally, for governments to act with urgency now.”
Andy Atkins, advocacy director of Tearfund, said one of the most devastating impacts of climate change was on water supply. “In some parts of the world, floods, storms and poor rainfall are beginning to have catastrophic effects, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people,” he said.