A recent research undertaken by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has shown that the effect of climate change weakens economic growth in the countries of the Global South, thereby leading to the inability of poor people to migrate.
Jacob Schewe, who is the leader of PIKs FutureLab Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration and one of the authors of the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters explained that climate change reduces economic growth in almost all countries of the world but it has very divergent effects in poorer and richer countries.
He noted that migration related to climate change has increased, but not as much as it is been expected. This is because in poor countries, many people in need are lacking the means to migrate and they have no choice but to stay where they are.
In their study, the PIK scientists focused on a country’s income level as an important factor influencing migration flows by examining how climate change affects international migration by analysing countries´ income levels from 1990 to 2020.
“Economic growth affects national income levels, which in turn affect migration. Relatively few people migrate from high-income and from very low-income countries. In the case of poor countries, this is partly because many people simply cannot afford to leave,” explains Christian Otto, PIK scientist and also co-author of the study. So very poor people often stay in their home country, even if they are in need or would like to migrate for other reasons.
On his part, a researcher at Columbia University in the U.S. and co-author of the study Anders Levermann, said “Our study was not about displacement caused by natural disasters,”. “Rather, it was about migration motivated by living conditions. Ongoing climate change is keeping many people in the Global South in poverty, making it more difficult for them to migrate. Thus, climate change deprives people of an important way to adapt to its impacts and increases the gap between rich and poor,”.
Story was adapted from EnvironNewsNigeria.