Why Climate Change Will Be A Leading Cause Of Migration In The Next 30 Years?
The world is changing with the gradual change of climate over the years. The effects of climate change are reverberating throughout the globe. Drastic changes in the environment may lead to mass human population migrations. The UN International Organization for Migration(IOM) forecasts state that about 25 million to 1 billion people might be termed “environmental migrants” by 2050. The following 30 years may observe climate change as the leading cause of migration. Before going in too deep, let’s see what climate change is about.
What is Climate Change?
Climate changes are long-term changes that significantly affect the global climate. The global climate can be explained as the connected system of many factors like the Sun, Earth, oceans, wind, rain, snow, forests, deserts, and everything humans do. The climate of a specific location is described in terms of different measuring elements, such as rainfall or changing temperatures of that location during the year.
Global climate change can be described in detail through an example. The rising temperature of the Pacific produces fiercer typhoons that make more rain, causing more damage. This change will change the global ocean currents causing the melting of Antarctica ice. Such a meltdown will slowly raise the sea levels until a city like New York goes underwater. That’s why it is vital to understand climate change globally.
The Interlink between Climate Change and Migration
Past examples show a clear correlation between climate change and migration processes. Due to climate change, people are forced to leave their homes, businesses and property. Some call them refugees, others, Environmental migrants. You can trace it as early as 660 to 1000 AD, when drought brought about the downfall of the Mayan Empire.
A more recent clear example is the Pacific Islands. A constant rise in the sea level is happening at 12 millimetres per year in the western Pacific. It has already submerged 8 islands. 2 more are nearly lost, causing a massive migration to larger countries. The situation is so critical that it is estimated that 48 islands overall will become lost to the rising ocean by 2100.
The Major cause of Climate Change: Global Warming
There are some non-human or organic causes of climate change. Some natural influences on the climate include volcanic eruptions, changes in the orbit of the Earth, and shifts in the Earth’s crust. But when you pile up all the evidence, a large scientific consensus points to humans as the leading cause of climate change.
In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly states that human activity is the cause of global warming, which in turn causes climate change. Although Natural climate processes can change the Earth’s temperature, the changes currently happening around the globe are at a scale and speed that natural cycles cannot justify. Humans and their activities are the leading influence here.
What is Global Warming?
Global warming is the slight increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s lower atmosphere. It happens when excessive energy or heat gets trapped in the atmosphere, obtained from the Sunrays striking the Earth. Even now, climate change and global warming have become almost synonyms.
Human interference results in excessive amounts of greenhouse gases that cause global warming and climate change. Greenhouse gases include gases like Carbon dioxide, Methane, and fluorinated gases. They trap the Sun’s heat into the atmosphere, not allowing it to escape back into space. The more these greenhouse gases, the greater the heating percentage trapped.
Naturally occurring greenhouse gases maintain a natural climate. Only the excessive contribution of human activities produces an imbalance of these gases, causing climate change through global warming. As more heat changes, wind and rain patterns worldwide.
8 Causes for Climate Change through Global Warming
There are numerous ways climate change begins. Global warming plays a leading role here in different forms.
1. Through Oil and Gas
Life without the use of Oil and Gas is unimaginable as it is used in most industries to produce electricity. Vehicles also run these essential items. Burning coal, oil and gases primarily adds to the climate change problem. Similarly, the use of fossil fuels is also a threat to the surrounding environment as their burning makes areas uninhabitable due to raised toxic levels.
Deforestation is the clearance of woodland and forest. It’s either done for the wood or to create space for farms or ranches. Trees turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, raising the breathable oxygen levels. Deforestation can also occur naturally because of any fire hazard. Such a scenario produces a more significant impact because of the fumes released from the fire.
3. Waste Production
Human waste production is becoming a mighty issue nowadays. A lot more waste gets generated with each passing day because of the short life cycle of products and the bulk products used. Many items of waste and packaging aren’t recyclable, which means they end up in landfills. When the waste in landfills begins to decompose/break down, it releases harmful gases into the atmosphere. It results in global warming and drastic climate change.
4. Power Plants
Power plants produce a variety of pollutants as they burn fossil fuels to function. This pollutes air and waterways, tipping the balance of regular climate changes to a drastic one. Burning coal is responsible for most of the extra carbon emissions in the Earth’s inner atmosphere.
5. Oil Drilling
Oil drilling produces air pollution by producing 30% methane and around 8% Carbon dioxide. It is used to collect petroleum oil, but extra gases are released that contribute to climate change during this process. Oil drilling may also pollute the surrounding water and environment.
Transportation is mainly done through cars, planes, boats and trains, almost all of which operate on fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon and other types of pollutants into the atmosphere. This makes such transports partly responsible for the release of greenhouse gases. Introducing Electric vehicles may reduce the negative impact of transportation on the climate.
7. Consumer Products
The advancement in technology and manufacturing has led to the production of more and more products. Additionally, customers can now purchase any product whenever they want. The reduced lifetime of various products like electronics or clothing items results in heaps of consumer waste that is tough to destroy or bury. Such debris impacts the climate by promoting global warming through Gases emissions.
Industrialization produces more harm than good in the long run. The waste produced ends up in landfills or the surrounding environment. Even the chemicals used in industrialization pollute the atmosphere and the soil underneath it.
Climate Change Impacts
Because the global climate is connected, climate change impacts are visibly felt globally in various forms. Some prominent climate change impacts are:
1. Rising Sea Levels
Climate change has caused the rising of sea levels. The average sea level worldwide rose about 8 inches in the past 100 years. It is expected to rise more and more rapidly in the next 100 years as part of climate change impacts. With time, many cities on the shore may require even seawalls to survive in the next 30 years, such as New York City.
2. Heavy Rainfalls and Typhoons
A changing climate impacts the amount of water in the atmosphere. You start observing violent downpours instead of steady showers when it does rain. All because of global warming. Climate change will produce more powerful Hurricanes, and typhoons, causing flooding to become more common.
3. Droughts and Heatwaves
With climate change, droughts and extra-long heatwaves will become common. Hot, dry places will become hotter and drier, sometimes unbearably. While areas once temperate with regular rainfall will become a centre of a hot and dry atmosphere. Record high temperatures yearly will result in droughts in locations that were brimming with water previously.
4. Changed Ecosystems
With the warming of the world, entire ecosystems will shift. Already rising temperatures at the equator have pushed many fish species to migrate long distances to stay in waters that are the proper temperature for them. In once colder waters, the temperature rise may increase fishers’ catches. Still, in warmer waters, it may eliminate the whole fishing scene.
5. A rise in Pests and Diseases
Rising temperatures favour the rise of agricultural pests and diseases. Illnesses once found only in limited; tropical areas are now spreading in much wider zones. For instance, Malaria in Southeast Asia was considered a wet-season-only disease in most areas. But, now it is spread almost everywhere the whole year.
Climate change is not a far-fetched issue but a happening reality today. If ignored or taken lightly, the projected long-term results will start showing themselves in the near future. Massive human migration will become the norm in the next 30 years. The need of the hour is to close ranks together as nations, countries and individuals to reduce the excessive carbon emission in the atmosphere and other greenhouse gases. It will reduce Global warming with lesser climate change.