LONDON – A new report from U.K.-based Christian Aid predicts that up to 1 billion people between now and 2050 will be forced from their homes due to climate change in a “migration crisis” greater than that seen at the end of the Second World War.
While familiar threats are mentioned in the report, such as conflicts and natural disasters, the Christian charity says in the report that it fears the wave of migrations will generate new conflicts in areas of the world where resources are most scarce. The report, which marks the start of Christian Aid week, also says that forced migration is now the most urgent threat facing poorer countries.
“We believe forced migration is the most urgent threat facing poor people in developing countries,” said the charity, which was founded to deal with the migration crisis after the Second World War.
“A staggering number of people are being pushed aside to make way for dams, roads and other large-scale development projects,” it added.
Christian Aid says there are an estimated 163 million people forcibly displaced in the world, 105 million of whom moved due to projects such as dams, roads, factories, plantations and wildlife reserves,
The charity’s report also expressed fears that efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions by replacing oil with bio-fuels “will require vast tracts of land for plantations, leading to the forced ejection of yet more peasant farmers.”
It said that "a world of many more Darfurs is the increasingly likely nightmare scenario" and the impact of climate change is a frightening unknown.
By 2050, the group estimates 645 million people will have been displaced by development projects. Yet there are limited international structures to deal with the internally displaced.
The charity points out that a majority of the displaced will have to remain in their own countries as internally displaced people with no rights under international law and no voice. It further explained that in many cases their lives will be in danger.
Christian Aid is calling for "a stronger, braver response" by the international community to avoid the impending crisis.
The organization also accused international lending institutions, such as the World Bank and the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, of failing to pay sufficient attention to the growing migration problem, despite warnings that it is likely to be exacerbated by climate change.