The Horizon Magazine: Regional rivalry and climate migration possible ‘within our lifetimes’

Droughts, floods, changing agriculture and rising sea levels. The list of climate change impacts goes on, the new issue of the Horizon Magazine is out and it is warning us that regional rivalry and climate migration is possible ‘within our lifetimes’.

‘We have developed scenario narratives for the different futures for Europe which combine plausible changes in socio-economic conditions with projections of changes in climate,’ said Dr Paula Harrison, from the University of Oxford, UK, and project leader of IMPRESSIONS, an EU-funded research project which is looking at the impacts of high-end climate change.

‘In the worst-case scenario … many countries could struggle to maintain living standards and end up with extremely high levels of inequality,’ said Dr Harrison. ‘This is a real doom and gloom scenario where there is antagonism between regions and a disintegration of social fabric.’ Climate change will affect water resources, agriculture, biodiversity and the global flow of goods and services. Couple this with a growing population, and there could be significant impacts upon Europe’s economy and society.

Without significant action, certain regions may also become particularly vulnerable to other social factors, such as the mass movement of people. Normally, migration is driven by famine, economy and war, but droughts, heatwaves and food shortages could cause numbers to increase.

As pressure mounts on resources, migration could also result in other socio-economic ripple effects, such as countries closing their borders, which isn’t too hard to imagine in light of Europe’s current refugee challenge.

‘Climate change could make migration stressors worse, depending upon the socio-economic context that evolves,’ said Dr Harrison.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The project believes there is another possible scenario where societies make a big effort to meet sustainable development goals, limiting the impact of climate change.

The goal of the project is to be able to present these scenarios to policymakers in order to give them a better understanding of the implications of global of the implications of global warming.

Read the full article here.

Print this article