Why Europe could see an increase in climate refugees

The world population is predicted to reach close to 10 billion people by 2050. This, combined with the risk of natural disasters and food shortages, could lead to mass migration towards Europe in the next few decades. 

According to a report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), over a billion people are at risk of displacement due to ecological and political threats.

What does the data show? 

The report uses data provided by the Ecological Threat Register, which is often used by the UN and other organizations. One of the biggest threats is population growth, which can also lead to a greater scarcity of  food and water. 

Another key area of concern was the increasing risk of natural disasters due to climate change. Things like floods, droughts, rising temperatures, higher sea levels, and other issues could become more frequent in the coming years. 

In the report, the countries most at risk of further environmental problems include  Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Chad, India and Pakistan, which are also among the world’s least peaceful nations. Often, declining natural resources in these countries can lead to further conflict and unrest. 

In addition, it’s predicted that 59 countries, including China and India, will experience rising levels of water and food insecurity – this could affect approximately 5.4 billion people, over half of the global population. 

Effects on migration patterns

So, what does this mean for migration? As the report points out, currently, 1.2 billion people are living in high risk areas: South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

This could result in far more displacement and a large flow of refugees into Europe. The report predicts a large number of displaced people could head to the EU when faced with natural disasters and a lack of food.

This is something Europe needs to prepare for. At the moment, only 1% of people are displaced and most seek refuge in a neighboring country. If this soars, as predicted, the issues could be on a much larger scale than ever seen before. 

The EU is still struggling to reform its Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and the talks between countries are currently in deadlock. Plus, future talks have been postponed. 

Addressing the underlying causes of migration and preparing for these problems in advance is essential. Otherwise, the EU will need to prepare for a large-scale refugee crisis. 

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