Millions of people in the developing world will be forced from their homes by climate change in the coming decades, according to a major new report produced by the World Bank.

Analysis of likely outcomes suggests a “looming human crisis” as the inhabitants of at-risk countries move within their national borders to safer areas.


These people will be driven by growing problems like water scarcity, crop failure, sea-level rise and storm surges, all of which are linked with the changing climate.

The report is the first of its kind to combine socioeconomic data with climate impact analysis to predict likely shifts in populations within countries as a result of climate change.

According to the researchers’ analysis, a “worst-case scenario” could see over 143 million people moving within their country’s borders by 2050 as the effects of climate change make their homes uninhabitable.

As the analysis only explored three developing regions – sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America – the worldwide numbers could be far larger.

Awareness of “climate refugees” has been growing steadily in recent years, and the scientists behind the new report noted that cross-border migration in particular has been “capturing media attention”.

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