May 13 News: 30 Million People Displaced By Climate- And Weather-Related Events Last Year


A new report out today shows that over 30 million people were displaced by climate-related extreme weather events … [Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Publications]

The Global Estimates report reveals that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2012 by disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes. While Asia and west and central Africa bore the brunt, 1.3 million were displaced in rich countries, with the USA particularly affected.

98% of all displacement in 2012 was related to climate- and weather-related events, with flood disasters in India and Nigeria accounting for 41% of global displacement in 2012. In India, monsoon floods displaced 6.9 million, and in Nigeria 6.1 million people were newly displaced. While over the past five years 81% of global displacement has occurred in Asia, in 2012 Africa had a record high for the region of 8.2 million people newly displaced, over four times more than in any of the previous four years.

… Just as climate expert Lord Stern predicts that hundreds of millions will be displaced this century. [Guardian]

It is increasingly likely that hundreds of millions of people will be displaced from their homelands in the near future as a result of global warming. That is the stark warning of economist and climate change expert Lord Stern following the news last week that concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere had reached a level of 400 parts per million (ppm).

Massive movements of people are likely to occur over the rest of the century because global temperatures are likely to rise to by up to 5C because carbon dioxide levels have risen unabated for 50 years, said Stern, who is head of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.

“When temperatures rise to that level, we will have disrupted weather patterns and spreading deserts,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to leave their homelands because their crops and animals will have died. The trouble will come when they try to migrate into new lands, however. That will bring them into armed conflict with people already living there. Nor will it be an occasional occurrence. It could become a permanent feature of life on Earth.”

New research suggests that half of the world’s plants and a third of its animals will lose more than half of their habitats due to climate change this century. [BBC, LA Times, USA Today]

Today marks one month (exactly) past the deadline on which the Administration was supposed to issue rules to regulate carbon pollution from new power plants, as ordered by the Supreme Court. [LA Times]

Hunters are particularly sensitive to climate impacts and could be an ally in cutting carbon emissions. [Outside]

Experts say Maine forests face threats from pests and increasing temperatures, threatening 30,000 forestry jobs. [Portland Press Herald]

As Secretary Kerry heads to a meeting of the Arctic Council this week, the White House issued a strategy for protection and limited development of the Arctic in the face of climate change. [AP]

The U.S. Drought Monitor may need an entirely new, more extreme category to describe the exceptional drought conditions brought on by climate change. [ClimateWire]

Northern California has entered a moderate drought stage. [Times Standard]

Elderly people face higher risks of being hospitalized for respiratory failure on hot days. [Baltimore Sun]

Could carbon emissions be used to fuel algae that could be turned into fuel, fertilizer, and livestock feed? Canadian Natural Resources will start a pilot project to find out. [Calgary Herald]

New Jersey will be getting 140 megawatts of solar power in the news few year, largely on polluted lands and brownfields sites. [Solar Love]

Ethanol tide turning? The Maine State House voted to ban ethanol in gasoline if two other New England states do the same thing. [Bangor Daily News]

Zoning issue imperil Scottish wind farm development. [Edinburgh Scotsman]

Some Nebraska electric utilities want weaker energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions-reduction laws. [Columbus Telegram]

14 Responses to May 13 News: 30 Million People Displaced By Climate- And Weather-Related Events Last Year

  1. peter whitehead says:

    The opposite of Climate Hawk is of course CLIMATE OSTRICH

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    Question for 350 Folks Regarding The University of California and Fossil Fuel Divestment

    I’ve noticed that The Regents of the University of California are having one of their (fairly infrequent) meetings/gatherings in Sacramento later this week (two days). As far as I can tell, based on the various agendas posted for their various sessions on their website, the topic of fossil fuel divestment is not on any of the present agendas. Can someone please tell me who (what organizations and what specific people) is/are leading the charge focused on getting the University of California system to divest? I’m a U.C. Berkeley alum and would like to get involved and help if I can connect with an active campaign that has some (even if small?) prayer/chance of succeeding.



  3. While not unexpected, the fact that these numbers are as high as they are should cause us all to stop and think. The reality is that climate change will drive changes to all levels of government policies.

    I give, for example, the ongoing rancor over immigration reform that currently occupies both the US Congress and political press. The focus on increasing border security at just this time means that we have not yet begun to think about climate refugees and the sure to come demand that the largest polluter (USA) should take the largest share of these displaced populations. Most will initially come from Africa, but eventually Vietnam (Mekong Delta) and Bangladesh will eventually push those number much, much higher.

    It is rather like the silliness of those anti-immigrant Republicans who wanted to send them all back to their home countries without thinking about what they would mean to the real estate industry in the US… a drop in demand and home prices that would make the last housing bubble burst look like fizz in a soda bottle.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    America’s first climate refugees
    Newtok, Alaska is losing ground to the sea at a dangerous rate and for its residents, exile is inevitable.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Peak oil, climate change and pipeline geopolitics driving Syria conflict

    Faced with dwindling profits from oil exports and a fiscal deficit, the government was forced to slash fuel subsidies in May 2008 – which at the time consumed 15% of GDP. The price of petrol tripled overnight, fueling pressure on food prices.

    The crunch came in the context of an intensifying and increasingly regular drought cycle linked to climate change. Between 2002 and 2008, the country’s total water resources dropped by half through both overuse and waste.

    Once self-sufficient in wheat, Syria has become increasingly dependent on increasingly costly grain imports, which rose by 1m tonnes in 2011-12, then rose again by nearly 30% to about 4m in 2012-13. The drought ravaged Syria’s farmlands, led to several crop failures, and drove hundreds of thousands of people from predominantly Sunni rural areas into coastal cities traditionally dominated by the Alawite minority.

    Behind the facade of humanitarian concern, familiar interests are at stake. Three months ago, Iraq gave the greenlight for the signing of a framework agreement for construction of pipelines to transport natural gas from Iran’s South Pars field – which it shares with Qatar – across Iraq, to Syria.

    The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan is a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans for a countervailing pipeline running from Qatar’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, also with a view to supply European markets.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Then from 2010 to 2011, the price of wheat doubled – fueled by a combination of extreme weather events linked to climate change, oil price spikes and intensified speculation on food commodities – impacting on Syrian wheat imports. Assad’s inability to maintain subsidies due to rapidly declining oil revenues worsened the situation.

    The food price hikes triggered the protests that evolved into armed rebellion, in response to Assad’s indiscriminate violence against demonstrators. The rural town of Dara’a, hit by five prior years of drought and water scarcity with little relief from the government, was a focal point for the 2011 protests.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The second paragraph is pure agit-prop. Demonstrations were organised by agents of the West and Western financed opposition groups (the US and its allies have been destabilising Syria for years, in time-tested fashion). The demonstrations were fired on by jihadis infiltrated into the country by Qatar and Saudi Arabia (but blamed by the ever-mendacious Western MSM propaganda apparatus on the Syrian Government)whose presence was to stir up civil and sectarian strife in a country where numerous faiths had lived in peace for decades, ie just like Yugoslavia and Iraq. In other words a truly wicked plan to create, foment and intensify civil war.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Excellent stuff! Sandel is, in my opinion, a moral teacher of a high order, but his message is simply the ‘bleeding obvious’. Capitalism is the antithesis of life in that it drives to turn everything in life, with all its wonderful diversity, into the slimy, undifferentiated, uniformity of money, and in doing so it has no morality but greed. The type that excels under such a destructive system are the worst of humanity, as we see every single day, and they are sentencing us all to oblivion.

  9. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I prefer ‘mucilaginous’ to ‘slimy’, ME