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Friday, October 19, 2012

Extended Weather Forecast: One Billion Homeless

As many as one billion people could lose their homes by 2050 because of the devastating impact of global warming!  That's the forecast from the U. N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that the developed world should start preparing for a huge movement of people caused by climate change.  The steady rise in temperatures across the planet could trigger mass migration on unprecedented levels.

Hundreds of millions could be forced to go on the move because of water shortages and crop failures in most of Africa, as well as in central and southern Asia and South America.  There could also be an effect on levels of starvation and on food prices as agriculture struggles to cope with growing demand in increasingly arid conditions.

Rising sea levels could also cause havoc, with coastal communities in southern Asia, the Far East, the south Pacific islands and the Caribbean seeing their homes submerged.  North and west Africans could head towards Europe, while the southern border of the United States could come under renewed pressure from Central America.

Craig Johnstone, the UNHCR deputy high commissioner, said in a 2008 London conference that humanity faced a "global-scale emergency" whose effects would accumulate over the next four decades. He said it was impossible to forecast with confidence the numbers of people who would lose their homes through climate change. But he pointed to assessments of between 250 million and one billion people losing their homes by 2050. He said: "This will be a global-scale emergency, but . . . it will take place gradually and over a long period of time."  Mr Johnstone said: "It's the obligation of the people who have the means to be helpful to help. They have an obligation to humanity to help."
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