Climate-fueled disasters are displacing one person every two SECONDS – and poor countries are more at risk despite their smaller contributions to carbon pollution

  • Report finds 20 million people are displaced each year due to climate change
  • Events like wildfires, cyclones and floods are the most common disasters
  • Reports also found that the poorest countries are more at risk of being affected 
  • About 80 percent of Asia’s residents fled their homes over the last decade 

Climate-fueled disasters are forcing 20 million people to flee their homes each year, which is equivalent to one person every two seconds, a new report finds.

The analysis found that floods, cyclones and wildfires are more likely to displace humans than compared to geophysical disasters or conflict.

While no one is immune to a changing word, the report discovered it is poor countries that are most at risk – even though they contribute the least amount to global carbon pollution.

The shocking report was released on Monday by Oxfam International, a charitable organization that focuses on the alleviation of global poverty.

The document, called ‘Forced from Home’, highlights statistics of climate related weather disaster that are pushing people out of their home, which has increased five-fold over the last decade.

The group is now calling for ‘more urgent and ambitious emissions reductions to minimize the impact of the crisis on people’s lives, and the establishment of a new ‘Loss and Damage’ finance facility to help communities recover and rebuild.’

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Climate-fueled disasters are forcing 20 million people to flee their homes each year, which is equivalent to one person every two seconds. The analysis found that floods, cyclones and wildfires are more likely to displace people than by geophysical disasters or conflict

The report notes that people are seven more times likely to be displaced by cyclones, floods and wildfires as they are by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and three times more likely than by conflict.

Approximately 95 percent of people were forced to move due to tropical cyclones and storms from 2008 through 2018. 

While no one is immune, people in poor countries are most at risk, the report warns,

‘People in low and lower-middle income countries such as India, Nigeria and Bolivia are over four times more likely to be displaced by extreme weather disasters than people in rich countries such as the United States,’ reads the document.

Approximately 80 percent of Asia’s residents have been forced to flee their homes over the last decade – an area home to over a third of the world’s poorest individuals. 

On average nearly five percent of the population of Cuba (pictured are people fleeing their homes during Hurricane Irma in 2017), Dominica and Tuvalu, were displaced by extreme weather each year in the decade between 2008 and 2018

The Oxfam analysis shows that economic losses from extreme weather disasters over the last decade were, on average, equivalent to two percent of affected countries’ national income

These numbers are equal to the entire population of Berlin, Hamburg and Munich being displaced within Germany in a single year.

Included in the top 10 countries that face the highest risk of extreme weather events are seven small island developing states – which are known to contribute a very low amount of carbon.

On average nearly five percent of the population of Cuba, Dominica and Tuvalu, were displaced by extreme weather each year in the decade between 2008 and 2018.

This is equivalent to almost half the population of Madrid that is being forced to flee in each year.

These small island communities are 150 times more likely to be displaced by extreme weather disasters than communities in Europe.  

Somalia, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, had a per capita emissions just one-fifth of high-income countries.

The report discovered it is poor countries that are most at risk – even though they contribute the least amount to global carbon pollution. Somalia (pictured), which is one of the poorest countries in the world, had a per capita emissions just one-fifth of high-income countries

The report notes that people are seven more times likely to be displaced by cyclones, floods (pictured is a flooded area of Buzi), and wildfires as they are by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and three times more likely than by conflict

On average nearly five percent of the population of Cuba, Dominica and Tuvalu (pictured), were displaced by extreme weather each year in the decade between 2008 and 2018. Climate change is destroying the poor small island communities

In 2018, 547,00 people were displaced by extreme weather events and 578,000 were forced to flew due to conflict. 

Chema Vera, Acting Executive Director of Oxfam International said:

‘Our governments are fueling a crisis that is driving millions of women, men and children from their homes and the poorest people in the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price.’

The report notes that wealthy countries are burdening the poor ones with the cost of these disasters.

The Oxfam analysis shows that economic losses from extreme weather disasters over the last decade were, on average, equivalent to two percent of affected countries’ national income.

That figure is much higher for many developing countries – up to an astonishing 20 percent for Small Island Developing States.

‘People are taking to the streets across the globe to demand urgent climate action. If politicians ignore their pleas, more people will die, more people will go hungry and more people will be forced from their homes,’ said Vera.

‘Governments can and must make Madrid matter.’

‘They must commit to faster, deeper emissions cuts and they must establish a new ‘Loss and Damage’ fund to help poor communities recover from climate disasters.’

HOW MUCH WILL SEA LEVELS RISE IN THE NEXT FEW CENTURIES?

Global sea levels could rise as much as 1.2 metres (4 feet) by 2300 even if we meet the 2015 Paris climate goals, scientists have warned.

The long-term change will be driven by a thaw of ice from Greenland to Antarctica that is set to re-draw global coastlines.

Sea level rise threatens cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives.

It is vital that we curb emissions as soon as possible to avoid an even greater rise, a German-led team of researchers said in a new report.

By 2300, the report projected that sea levels would gain by 0.7-1.2 metres, even if almost 200 nations fully meet goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Targets set by the accords include cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the second half of this century.

Ocean levels will rise inexorably because heat-trapping industrial gases already emitted will linger in the atmosphere, melting more ice, it said.

In addition, water naturally expands as it warms above four degrees Celsius (39.2°F).

The report also found that every five years of delay beyond 2020 in peaking global emissions would mean an extra 20 centimetres (8 inches) of sea level rise by 2300.

‘Sea level is often communicated as a really slow process that you can’t do much about … but the next 30 years really matter,’ lead author Dr Matthias Mengel, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Potsdam, Germany, told Reuters.

None of the nearly 200 governments to sign the Paris Accords are on track to meet its pledges.

 

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