200 million people could be displaced due to climate change by 2050, says UN study

On the UN-HABITAT website, Dr. Joan Clos-Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Executive Director of UN-HABITAT-issued a statement on the state of the world in time for World Habitat Day, which is commemorated every first Monday of October.


"It is estimated that by 2050, there could be as many as 200 million environmental refugees worldwide, many of whom will be forced from their homes by rising sea levels and the increased frequency of flooding or drought," Clos said. The grim statistics are from the UN-HABITAT’s Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed Clos’ concerns in his own statement. "Rising sea levels are a major impact of climate change - and an urgent concern. Sixty million people now live within one meter of sea level. By the end of the century, that number will jump to 130 million. Major coastal cities-such as Cairo, New York, Karachi, Calcutta, Belem, New Orleans, Shanghai, Tokyo, Lagos, Miami and Amsterdam-could face serious threats from storm surges," he said.



But, as Ban stated, there is still hope. "Cities are centres of industrialization and sources of emissions, but they are also home to solutions," he said. "More and more municipalities are harnessing wind, solar and geothermal energy, contributing to green growth and improving environmental protection."


Ban also pointed out that "local efforts are critical to success, but they must be supported by international initiatives." One such initiative is the "REDD plus" (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), wherein "countries agree on the goal of limiting global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius."


For more on this story, log on to the UN-HABITAT website.

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