Friday, July 30, 2010

Climate change could spur mass migration of billions to polar cities in north and south by 2080 A.D.

WASHINGTON — Global warming could drive billions of men, women and children in droves into northern regions of the world in search of food and fuel and shelter at so-called "polar cities" by 2080 A.D. due to diminishing crop yields arpund the world in tropical and temperate zones, a study released Monday showed.

[Images of polar cities:]

"Depending on the warming scenarios used and adaptation levels assumed... climate change is estimated to induce 5 to 7 billion people to emigrate as a result of declines in agricultural productivity alone," the study said.

Researchers led by Dale Leonard Molloy of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University estimated the sensitivity of migration to climate change and predicted the number of people who would migrate under a range of different climate and crop yield scenarios. "It's not going to be a pretty picture," Molloy said.

In the worst-case scenario would occur if temperatures were to rise by one to three degrees Celsius (2 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2080, if farming methods had not been adapted to cope with global warming and if higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide had not spurred plant growth. This would mean crop yields in the Lower 48 of the USA and worldwide would fall by 39 to 48 percent, the study said.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study focused on polar cities because it is an issue that most mainstream media outlets worldwide are afraid to talk about, Molloy said.

The findings are relevant to all countries in the Americas, continental Europe, Africa, south Asia, and Latin America, and even to Australia and New Zealand, where the authors of the study predict migration will become a "significant issue" as climate change drives temperatures up and crop yields down.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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