Migration and climate change: the unequal distribution of impacts

This article is written by Kayla Soren.

The consequences of climate change are not felt equally across the world. The brunt of its impacts fall on the poor and vulnerable: indigenous peoples, mothers in rural areas, laborers working outside, and slum dwellers. With increasing extreme weather tendencies such as floods and desertification, sea level rising, and other environmental hazards, people are being forced to migrate. This is leading to exponential increases in the amount of climate migrants, people forced to move due to climate change. In a 2010 Gallup World Poll, 12 percent of respondents said environmental problems would require them to move within the next five years.

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Coastal management in the North Sea

This article is part of the 4sea Project.

Case study of the island of Sylt

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Risks in coastal areas are very high due to climate change impacts, and the threats from sea-level rise are numerous, mostly affecting poor and vulnerable countries. The fact that the share of the global population living close to the sea has never been as large as today enhances the general necessity to reaction on the coasts [1].

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Sea Level Rise in the Indian Ocean

This article is part of the 4sea Project.

Case study of Bangladesh

Bangladesh, a country of around 164 million people, is situated in the maritime territory of the largest river delta in the world, Ganges-Brahmaputra, at the head of the Bay of Bengal. With nearly two-thirds of the country being less than 5 meters above the sea level, Bangladesh is widely recognized as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.1 As the sea surface temperatures have risen significantly faster in the Bay of Bengal (5 mm yr-1 and more) than for the global average (3.2 mm yr-1) for the past decades, Bangladesh has suffered one of the fastest increases of sea level rise in the world.2 Along the shoreline of Bangladesh tide-gauge records have reported sea-level rise rates between 6 and 20 mm yr-1, which highlights the spatial variation of the dynamic coastline of the country.3

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Florida and Rising Sea Levels

 This article is part of the 4sea Project.

2016 marked the third year of record high temperatures for mother earth. More than 90% of the heat that is associated with gas emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from human activity will be absorbed by the oceans. This leads to two main causes of sea level rise: the melting of glaciers and ice shelves and the thermal expansion of the ocean due to global warming. Florida is one of the several states that is in danger due to rising sea levels. Florida is located in the southeastern United States with 1,200 miles of sandy coastline and eighteen million residents who live less than 60 miles from either the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico. Higher sea levels will worsen the impacts of storms, wave action, and high tides in this area by altering the frequency and intensity of each. This fact can be hazardous to Florida which has a maximum elevation of less than 400 feet above sea level.miami-1198921_1920

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Sea level rise and climate change

 This article is part of the 4sea Project.

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The global climate has been changing throughout our planet’s history and as a result various ice ages with warmer and colder periods have occurred. The oceans play a significant role in the global climate system and are therefore greatly affected by disturbances and changes in the system. In addition to larger global changes in the sea level during long periods of time, the sea level can also change on a local level in matter of less than a few hours during strong storm surges and tides.

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Adaptation 4(the)sea: why coastal areas need adaptation

 This article is part of the 4sea Project.

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Climate change has severe impacts on the environment and societies. Especially coastal regions are under risk. In order to reduce the impacts of climate change there are two essential approaches: mitigation and adaptation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific working group on climate change of the United Nations, defines mitigation as “an anthropogenic intervention to reduce the anthropogenic forcing of the climate system” [1] (i.e : reduction of greenhouse gas sources and emissions or enhance greenhouse gas sinks). In addition, the IPCC refers to adaptation as an “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities “.[2] In other words adaptation is the behaviour to adjust to impacts of climate change, while mitigation reduces the causes and the impact of climate change. It is important to understand that both mitigation and adaptation strategies are essential in order to reduce the threats that climate change presents.

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