Adapt or move: Climate change is already driving global migration

Search and rescue personnel look for possible fire victims
Search and rescue personnel from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office look for possible fire victims in a mobile home park on Sept. 11, 2020, in Ashland, Ore.
David Ryder | Getty Images 2020

Climate change is here, now. And the impacts are already causing people to migrate to safer climate zones. That’s one finding in the United Nations’ latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which focuses on the human toll of climate change.

“It is a complex problem and it is already happening in many areas,” David Wrathall, an associate professor at Oregon State University who studies migration and helped write the report, said in a press release. “Wildfires in 2020 displaced more than 4,000 people in Oregon. Many of those people are migrating right now as they look to rebuild their lives.”

Wrathall added on Climate Cast this week that many of those most impacted have contributed the least to global emissions and are the least prepared to adapt.

Hear more from Wrathall on this week’s episode by clicking play on the audio player above or subscribing to the Climate Cast podcast.

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