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Warming drives climate refugees to Europe: Researchers

WT24 Desk

The numbers of climate refugees seeking asylum in Europe by the end of the century will be almost three times greater than today unless the world makes radical cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions,UNB reports.

Researchers say migrants applying for asylum in the European Union will by 2100 nearly triple over the average of the last 15 years if carbon emissions continue at their current rate.

They say cutting emissions could slow this human tide, but even then Europe would see asylum seekers rising by at least a quarter, according to Climate News Network.

“Europe is already conflicted about how many refugees to admit,” said the study’s senior author, Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a professor at the university’s Earth Institute.

Wolfram Schlenker said though poorer countries in hotter regions are most vulnerable to climate change, their findings highlight the extent to which countries are interlinked, and Europe will see increasing numbers of desperate people fleeing their home countries.

“There are tremendous costs, both for refugees and their hosts, when we are caught flat-footed. We should plan ahead and prepare.” He and the study’s co-author, Anouch Missirian, compared asylum applications to the EU from 103 countries between 2000 and 2014, with temperature variations in the applicants’ home countries.

They found that the more temperatures over each country’s agricultural region deviated from 20°C (68°F) during its growing season, the more likely people were to seek refuge abroad.

The study, published in the journal Science, says crops grow best at an average temperature of 20°C, and so, not surprisingly, hotter than normal temperatures increased asylum applications in hotter places, such as Iraq and Pakistan, and lowered them in colder places such as Serbia and Peru.

But if carbon emissions continue on their current trajectory, with global temperatures.Under the climate deal struck in 2015, the Paris Agreement, most of the world’s nations agreed to cut carbon emissions by 2100 to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

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