Climate Migration: A Life-Threatening Danger


Throughout the ages, people migrated for several reasons; in particular, in search for a food source, a fertile land suitable for agriculture and grazing, and safe drinking water. These reasons were followed by better places to live, job opportunities, and quality of life in general. Disasters have also been another reason for migration; whether natural, such as volcanoes, hurricanes, etc., or human-made, such as wars, which resulted in the migration of entire populations and their displacement away from their homelands.

Now, an additional reason for migration has emerged: climate change. The problem is that the nature of this disaster has not yet been identified, whether it is a natural phenomenon or a human-made one.

Natural Phenomenon or Environmental Disaster

The common belief, especially after the Industrial Revolution, is that the main cause of climate change is pollution resulting from the huge amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere. Yet, we should not ignore the fact that the Earth's climate naturally changes over the ages. The difference between solar energy and volcanic eruptions, for example, can be main causes of climate change in the long run. However, these natural causes do not explain the strong warming that we have observed over the past century.

Scientists have studied the Earth's climate by analyzing a number of indirect metrics, such as ice cores, glaciers length, pollen residues, ocean sediments, and shifts in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. These studies have shown that the climate naturally changes over a wide span of time scales. Yet, this variability does not explain the observed warming since the 1950s, so the greater proportion of warming and climate change causes are most probably attributed to human activities.

Migration due to Climate Change

Temperatures have exceeded 50°C in some countries for double the number of days compared to thirty years ago. As a result, the climate change that the Earth has witnessed in the past decades, has become a fundamental reason for mass migration to more moderate climates. Many families have already migrated from Guatemala after the rains failed for several years; the lands dried up and the crops died, making the place uninhabitable.

Over the past decade, the number of migrants globally has doubled. This requires a safe migration plan that helps people flee from dangers and poverty to safety and convenience; in order to build a more resilient global community for the benefit of all.

Most Affected Areas by Climate Change

In 2018, the World Bank estimated that there are three regions most affected by climate change, and huge numbers of their populations will migrate; namely, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2050, the number of climate migrants is estimated at 143 million.

It has to be taken into account that climate change may not be the direct cause of climate migration. This change causes some other environmental problems that lead to displacement, such as desertification, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, air pollution, changing rain patterns, and loss of biodiversity. Migration that occurs due to any of these environmental issues falls also under the umbrella of climate migration.

Whether human activities or some natural factors are the main cause of climate change, this is a fact that must be dealt with. A practical and safe plan should be put to move migrants affected by climate change to safer areas to enjoy a normal life.


Cover image by Freepik.


About Us

SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
Continue reading

Contact Us

P.O. Box 138, Chatby 21526, Alexandria, EGYPT
Tel.: +(203) 4839999
Ext.: 1737–1781

Become a member

© 2023 | Bibliotheca Alexandrina