The climate crisis and wars will make many countries in the world almost uninhabitable in the coming decades. Today, there is already a heated debate on migration in Europe. But the situation is likely to worsen significantly.
According to a study, the habitat of more than a billion people in the world could be under threat by 2050. The climate crisis, conflict and unrest could force many of these people to leave their homelands, according to a study by the Institute for Economics and Peace presented in London on Wednesday.
Threatened: 31 states are not resilient enough
Hotspots that are particularly threatened include the African Sahel zone, African states further south such as Angola or Madagascar, and the Middle East from Syria to Pakistan. The authors see storms and floods as the greatest threats, but also as water shortages and an unsafe food supply. In their calculations, the scientists assume that natural disasters will occur at least as regularly as in previous decades.
Based on a number of factors, the researchers identify a total of 31 states that they classify as not resilient enough to accommodate the environmental and political changes of the coming decades. That may not make these countries completely uninhabitable, but it will force some citizens to relocate. The population of these countries makes up more than a billion of the world’s population.
“Vicious circle” between political and environmental dimensions
The authors see a connection between political conflict and ecological threats: the less peace there is in a region, the more likely it is to collapse. “It’s kind of a vicious circle. Conflict destroys countries’ natural resources – and scarcity in turn leads to new conflicts,” explains Killelea. This is the case in Yemen, for example.
Moria: Many migrants are housed under poor conditions in the refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. The number of refugees must continue to increase. (Source: ANE Edition / Image Images)
As a result of this development, the experts warn against mass migration movements, which would mainly affect the European countries designated as relatively crisis-resistant. “Since 2015, we have seen how even a relatively small number of migrants can cause enormous political unrest and developments,” said author Steve Killelea of the German news agency. At the time, more than a million refugees came to Europe, many from Syria or the Iraq.
Even more people are seeking refuge in stable countries
Future ecological and political threats are expected to prompt significantly greater numbers of people to leave their homelands and seek refuge in safer regions. For example, hundreds of millions of people could leave Pakistan, Iran or Ethiopia.
Europe must be aware of the threat and the associated responsibilities, Killelea demanded. Governments are concerned with how the resilience of crisis states can be strengthened. It is especially important to support businesses and governments when it comes to water scarcity. As early as 2040, more than five billion people could be affected by high or extremely high water scarcity, for example in India or China.