Governments must plan for migration in response to climate change, researchers say

Oct 27, 2011

Governments around the world must be prepared for mass migrations caused by rising global temperatures or face the possibility of calamitous results, say University of Florida scientists on a research team reporting in the Oct. 28 edition of Science.

If increase by only a few of degrees by 2100, as predicted by the U.N. , people around the world will be forced to migrate. But transplanting populations from one location to another is a complicated proposition that has left millions of people impoverished in recent years. The researchers say that a word of caution is in order and that governments should take care to understand the ramifications of forced migration.

A consortium of 12 scientists from around the world, including two UF researchers, gathered last year at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center to review 50 years of research related to population resettlement following or the installation of infrastructure development projects such as dams and pipelines. The group determined that resettlement efforts in the past have left communities in ruin, and that policy makers need to use lessons from the past to protect people who are forced to relocate because of climate change.

"The are likely to be experienced by as many people as disasters," UF Anthony Oliver-Smith said. "More people than ever may be moving in response to intense storms, increased flooding and drought that makes living untenable in their current location."

"Sometimes the problem is simply a lack of regard for the people ostensibly in the way of progress," said Oliver-Smith, an emeritus professor who has researched issues surrounding forced migration for more than 30 years. But resettlements frequently fail because the complexity of the task is underestimated. "Transplanting a population and its culture from one location to another is a complex process -- as complicated as brain surgery," he said.

"It's going to be a matter of planning ahead now," said Burt Singer, a courtesy faculty member at the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute who worked with the research group. He too has studied issues related to population resettlement for decades.

Singer said that regulatory efforts promoted by the International Finance Corporation, the corporate lending arm of the World Bank, are helping to ensure the well-being of resettled communities in some cases. But as more people are relocated -- especially very poor people with no resources -- financing resettlement operations in the wake of a changing climate could become a real challenge.

Planning and paying for resettlement is only part of the challenge, Oliver-Smith said. "You need informed, capable decision makers to carry out these plans," he said. A lack of training and information can derail the best-laid plans. He said the World Bank increasingly turns to anthropologists to help them evaluate projects and outcomes of resettlement.

"It is a moral imperative," Oliver-Smith said. Also, a simple cost-benefit analysis shows that doing resettlement poorly adds to costs in the future. Wasted resources and the costs of malnutrition, declining health, infant and elder mortality, and the destruction of families and social networks should be included in the total cost of a failed resettlement, he said.

Oliver-Smith said the cautionary tales of past failures yield valuable lessons for future policy makers, namely because they point out many of the potential pitfalls than can beset resettlement projects. But they also underscore the fact that there is a heavy price paid by resettled people, even in the best-case scenarios.

In the coming years, he said, many projects such as hydroelectric dams and biofuel plantations will be proposed in the name of , but moving people to accommodate these projects may not be the simple solution that policy makers sometimes assume.

A clear-eyed review of the true costs of forced migration could alert governments to the complexities and risks of resettlement.

"If brain surgeons had the sort of success rate that we have had with resettling populations, very few people would opt for brain surgery," he said.

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gwrede
2 / 5 (3) Oct 27, 2011
Wrong.

Governments should start learning terraforming.

It is impractical to start shoveling billions of people across continents in search of food. What we should do, is learn to make former desert that now gets drenched into an eden-like fruit garden, and drying up forests into vast olive-tree fields.

Even if we had never started to use oil or wood or carbon, the idea that climate stays the same all the time is naive, at best. Now that we are many and have increasing economical and physical resources at our disposal, we should learn to adapt to the ever changing climate.

We should also try to develop special crops for the changing areas, to help them go from one climate to the next. It's not like we can throw a lasso at a cloud and then tie it to the nearest tree.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (20) Oct 27, 2011
What's going on with all the AGW propaganda in recent days on Physorg?
djr
4.3 / 5 (17) Oct 27, 2011
What's going on with all the AGW propaganda in recent days on Physorg?

It's called science - you call it propoganda because it does not fit your preconceived world view. It is hard accepting reality - when you have built your identity around dogma.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (18) Oct 27, 2011
I guess the only way to get published these days is to make some claim your 'research' has something to do with AGW.
Do govts have to plan for migration when Yellowstone blow up if a tsunami destroys a few coastal cities?
How about a major earthquake in LA. Do govt need to plan for migration?
Or if Iran lobs a few nukes. Will govts need to plan for migration?
djr
4.4 / 5 (13) Oct 27, 2011
Hey rygg - check this out. A pacific island nation is having to evacuate due to rising seas levels caused by global warming - I know, I know - just a conspiracy of evil scientists making up stupid shit again...

http://www.earth-.../update2
deepsand
4.7 / 5 (12) Oct 27, 2011
Governments should start learning terraforming.

Mankind is already engaged in unintended terraforming, and with undesired consequences.

First step, therefore, is to stop what he's doing that's the cause of the problem.
deepsand
4.4 / 5 (13) Oct 27, 2011
What's going on with all the AGW propaganda in recent days on Physorg?

What's going on with all the denialists' hand-in-the-sand drivel, fluff and tripe in recent years on Physorg?
Pirouette
1 / 5 (10) Oct 28, 2011
I've decided not to believe in AGW until I actually SEE physical evidence of it happening. But neither do I DISBELIEVE it to be happening; I just want to see more data on it. In the past, whole islands have disappeared underwater and some people thought that it was because of something like climate change, when it was actually caused by the island no longer being supported beneath it. In the meantime, I will not pollute the Earth and I will expect everyone else to do the same. Whether or not climate change is caused by 11 year solar cycles, or whatever the cause, we all should have respect for our home planet and not pollute her. Without humans, the Earth would naturally clean herself up, but there are many other causes for climate change, so it's ridiculous to blame it all on humans only.
Pirouette
1.4 / 5 (10) Oct 28, 2011
If my memory serves me right, humans migrated FROM AFRICA in 2 waves; both waves were CAUSED by climate change ACCORDING TO SCIENTISTS, when forests and savannahs dried up and became desert-like. These Africans migrated out of Africa and into the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Scientists have said that the great migration possibly occurred while the continents were still quite close together. The animals in Africa also had their own great migrations, away from the regions that had become desert, and into where food was still plentiful.
What caused the climate changes that preceded the great migrations back then, nobody seems to know. Certainly there was no massive use of fossil fuels. Possibly burning wood fires might have done it, but as there weren't as many humans at the time, it's a doubtful reason.
Pirouette
2 / 5 (8) Oct 28, 2011
@dir
Hey rygg - check this out. A pacific island nation is having to evacuate due to rising seas levels caused by global warming - I know, I know - just a conspiracy of evil scientists making up stupid shit again...

http://www.earth-.../update2


The copyright for that article is from 2001. Do you have anything more current regarding the same?
Grizzled
1 / 5 (8) Oct 28, 2011
What's going on with all the AGW propaganda in recent days on Physorg?


Shrug - someone got some spin money to spend. Nothing new there.
Grizzled
1 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2011
Hey rygg - check this out. A pacific island nation is having to evacuate due to rising seas levels caused by global warming - I know, I know - just a conspiracy of evil scientists making up stupid shit again...

http://www.earth-.../update2


Which is of course a debunked myth. Satellite images compared with older charts have shown that the land area there has actually increased, significantly, since the 1950s at least.

Now, the fact that local population wants to emigrate to Australia, New Zealand (or any other civilized place for that matter) is of course nothing new.
deepsand
4.5 / 5 (8) Oct 28, 2011
THE SOUTH PACIFIC SEA LEVEL & CLIMATE MONITORING PROJECT
MONTHLY DATA REPORT
NO. 194
AUGUST 2011

SEA LEVEL TRENDS

Cook Is -- plus 5.1 mm/yr
Tonga -- plus 8.5 mm/yr
Fiji -- plus 5.0 mm/yr
Vanuatu -- plus 5.3 mm/yr
Samoa -- plus 6.5 mm/yr
Tuvalu -- plus 4.0 mm/yr
Kiribati plus 3.1 mm/yr
Nauru -- plus 3.9 mm/yr
Solomon Is -- plus 7.1 mm/yr
PNG -- plus 7.7 mm/yr
FSM -- plus 17.0 mm/yr
Marshall Is -- plus 4.8 mm/yr

http://www.bom.go...ts.shtml
Ojorf
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2011
A very intelligent comment there deepsand, and by intelligent I mean horrendously stupid. The figures you list are from the "Recent short-term sea level trends" data set. Sea level is greatly influenced by seasonal temperature and barometric pressure changes.
Just scroll down and you will be amazed by Fig.11 "Monthly Mean Sea Levels to August 2011"(from 1992 - Aug 2011).
You will notice that EVERY SINGLE ISLAND has experience a rise in sea level.
I also suggest you go have a look at the "Consolidated Data Reports" instead of the monthly ones, on the same site.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (8) Oct 28, 2011
If my memory serves me right, humans migrated FROM AFRICA in 2 waves

Aboriginal Austrailians probably walked or did not have too far to sail to get from Asia to Austrailia. I recall NatGeo found some Inians who shared a unique genetic trait with aborinal Austrailians suggesting migration from Africa.
djr
5 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2011
"The copyright for that article is from 2001. Do you have anything more current regarding the same?"
Sure - not hard to find if you are interested - http://green.blog...-action/ But it becomes clear that for the denialists like rygg - no amount of science, or evidence will be heard. Here is data showing the 20 year trend of global sea levels. http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
I know - global conspiracy of evil scientists and their mind control drugs again.
deepsand
4.5 / 5 (8) Oct 28, 2011
A very intelligent comment there deepsand, and by intelligent I mean horrendously stupid.

But, this remark is intelligent?

I suggest that you look at the long term data; and, then, rebut using data rather than ad hominem.

Just scroll down and you will be amazed by Fig.11 "Monthly Mean Sea Levels to August 2011"(from 1992 - Aug 2011).
You will notice that EVERY SINGLE ISLAND has experience a rise in sea level.

Hm-mm. Seems to counter your claim re. short term factors being the controlling ones.

Pirouette
1 / 5 (4) Oct 28, 2011
Some of the points I wanted to make with the reference to the great migrations out of Africa is that:
1) Before each migration, climate change had occurred which motivated the people of certain regions of Africa to leave their homes and migrate thousands of miles to uncharted parts of the world to find food supplies. The changes may have happened quickly, turning dense jungles into near-desert conditions. The world's many volcanoes could have activated often enough that changed weather patterns so that where there was once plentiful rain, became arid and unproductive for man, plants and animals. The climate could later have changed again somewhat and certain African peoples learned to adapt to that, rather than migrate out. Take the African Bushmen of the Central Kalahari, for instance. They apparently have adapted by becoming shorter and are able to find oases of water and plants in their natural desert habitat.
Pirouette
1 / 5 (4) Oct 28, 2011
They are some of those whose ancestors did not go out of Africa and colonize Europe and Asia when Pangaea was still held together as a super-continent.

2) One should remember that climate change is a part of Earth's existence, and it can undergo changes fast, or it can take thousands of years. But it will happen, in any case.
3) Whatever changes may occur, whether by forces of nature itself, or by man's intrusion on the world, Nature does take care of things her own way. If the atmosphere is poisoned by CO2, man will die. If the seas rise too much, man will die. No matter how it happens, men will die and there's not much we can do about that. Nature has her own way of dealing with mistakes.
deepsand
4.6 / 5 (9) Oct 28, 2011
Yeah, don't worry; Mother Nature can't do more than kill ya. :rolleyes:
Pirouette
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2011
Yeah, don't worry; Mother Nature can't do more than kill ya. :rolleyes:


. . . .which does solve some of the world's overpopulation problem.
Ojorf
1 / 5 (3) Oct 29, 2011
Well, deepsand, what you say makes no sense at all, all the long term data shows sea levels rising.
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Oct 29, 2011
Which is precisely the point!

Your post implied that such was a short-term effect.
MentalHealthNut
3 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
There is a lot of evidence saying our planet is warming. Whether or not it is man-made is the debate that should be taking place.
Ojorf
5 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2011
@Deepsand: You are absolutely correct, please accept my apology, dunno what I was thinking. Sorry.
Ethelred
4 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2011
Deepsand:

I see one problem with the rising sea levels there. They may be falling island levels.

ALL of those were volcanic weren't they? Volcanic islands start submerging when they stop growing. The weight of all that rock pushes down on the thin oceanic crust and the islands just go down. You can see this in underwater maps of all archipelagos. They all, or perhaps its only most, get lower and lower as you move from the volcanically active end to the opposite end. THEN there are sea-mounts that continue on under water.

I would be more interested in water levels for continental land where the crust is much thicker. I am pretty sure the numbers there are showing a much slower rise in sea levels.

Ethelred
deepsand
5 / 5 (6) Oct 30, 2011
@Deepsand: You are absolutely correct, please accept my apology, dunno what I was thinking. Sorry.

No problem; the same happens to all of us at times, myself included.
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Oct 30, 2011
Deepsand:

I see one problem with the rising sea levels there. They may be falling island levels.

I would be more interested in water levels for continental land where the crust is much thicker. I am pretty sure the numbers there are showing a much slower rise in sea levels.

Ethelred

A valid point, which has been elsewhere here addressed.

And, in some cases, continental land is also sinking; but, at a rate less than the rise in the sea level. I seem to recall some data here in another article re. such for the Chesapeake Bay area.

I've also a recollection of somewhere reading data re. the rising sea levels of the Indian sub-continent. And, it's well known that some coastal cities, such as New York City, are subsiding.

In any case, though, subsidence of land here simply adds to the urgency of the matter.
StarGazer2011
1 / 5 (5) Oct 30, 2011
@dir : tuvalu wasnt at risk from CAGW, turned out it was land subsidation, a geological process and nothing to do with CAGW. Plus your eco-tard article was from 2001, fool.

The UN was worrying about 'climate refugees' in 2001, they predicted '10 million climate refugees by 2010', they were wrong, like all the CAGW nonsense.
http://asiancorre...efugees/

Just a ridiculous doomsday cult with some pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo to fool idiots.
StarGazer2011
1 / 5 (5) Oct 30, 2011
From the way back machine:
'In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production.'
http://asiancorre...efugees/
Same old eco-tard nonsense.
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Oct 30, 2011
Same old head-in-the-sand tard nonsense.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) Oct 30, 2011
Same old head-in-the-sand tard nonsense.

What central state plans do you have in mind?
State and federal govts screwed up the evacuation and rebuilding of New Orleans. That is just one city.
The only effective plan a govt can make is to empower their citizens to make their own choices and to stop subsidizing and encouraging bad choices.
Like building cities in areas below sea level.
deepsand
5 / 5 (7) Oct 30, 2011
Why ask me?

You're the one focused on policy to the exclusion of physical facts.
Ojorf
4 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2011
As far as rising islands go, read the reports, it has been taken into account.
3432682
1 / 5 (6) Oct 31, 2011
Sea levels have risen 400 feet since the last ice age end, 10,000 years ago. In the last two centuries the rise was about 1 foot per year. That's called "normal". Now the rate is about half that, according to the world's foremost experts, including Nils-Axel Morner. Note that the IPCC does NOT include the best experts on sea level, nor does it listen to them, because their computer games, er, models, say differently. IF sea levels rise a lot, THEN blah, blah, blah. BUT sea levels are not rising much. Stop listening to experts and do your own research. Global warming is a belief based on second-hand "knowledge" backed up by precisely nothing.
deepsand
5 / 5 (6) Oct 31, 2011
What? Your land is becoming flooded?

Don't panic; 3432682 says that's normal.

In a few millenia you'll never even know that anyone once lived here

:rolleyes: