Scientists predict that a staggering 143m people could be displaced and migrate over the next 30 years due to rising seas, drought, searing temperatures and other climate catastrophes - and that over a third of these would come from Asia.
The second part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published in February 2022 said that Asia leads the world in the number of people being displaced by extreme weather, largely storms and flooding.
The report said that as many as 2m people may be displaced in the low-lying Bangladesh by rising seas by 2050. Already, more than 2,000 migrants arrive in its capital city Dhaka every day, many of them fleeing coastal towns.
Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta demonstrates how climate change is making more places uninhabitable. With an estimated one-third of the city expected to be submerged in the coming decades – in part because of the rising Java Sea – the Indonesian government is planning to move its capital some 2,000 kilometres northeast to the island of Borneo, relocating as many as 1.5m civil servants.
It is a huge undertaking and part of the mass movement of people that is expected to accelerate in the years ahead. With rural villages emptying out and megacities like Jakarta at risk, scientists predict migration flows and the need for planned relocations will only grow. Over two-thirds of the population in Asia could be urban in 30 years.
By one estimate, as many as 40m people in South Asia may be forced to move over the next 30 years because of a lack of water, crop failure, storm surges and other disasters. In Asia, governments are already scrambling to deal with it.
“Under all global warming levels, some regions that are presently densely populated will become unsafe or uninhabitable,” the latest IPCC report said.
Stanford University environmental scientist Chris Field said the rising temperatures are of particular concern. He said, “There are relatively few places on Earth that are simply too hot to live now.
“But it’s beginning to look like in Asia, there may be more of those in the future and we need to think really hard about the implications of that.” A