Climate change could displace over 200 million people in the next 30 years, a World Bank study has found. The study, which forms the second part of the Groundswell report that was published Monday, warned of formation of migration hotspots and climate change forces people to leave their homes.

The Groundswell report focuses on how slow-onset impacts of climate change such as scarcity of water, decreasing crop productivity and rising sea levels could create force displacements in habitation patterns. Decrease in crop productivity, water scarcity and rising sea levels could lead to millions of what the Groundswell report describes as “climate migrants” by 2050.

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The report, funded by the World Bank, lists three possibilities vis a vis climate change over the next three decades.

The pessimistic scenario: The bleakest possibility is burgeoning socio-political inequalities and high-level of emissions force nearly 216 million people out of their homes across six regions analysed: Latin America, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific.

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Sub-Saharan Africa, the region most vulnerable to climate change due to desertification, fragile coastlines and the population’s dependence on agriculture, is likely to see the greatest amount of migration with up to 86 million climate migrants moving within national borders.  

If we do everything right from here on: In the most climate-friendly and optimistic scenario where emissions are brought under control and inclusive, sustainable development takes place, the number of climate migrants could reduce by 80% down to 44 million.

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The report did not look at the short-term impact of climate change such as effects on extreme weather events. The findings of the Groundswell report reaffirm the potency of climate to induce migration within countries, according to Viviane Wei Chen Clement, a senior climate change specialist at the World Bank and one of the authors of the report.

(With inputs from Associated Press)