There are three big things that will force human beings out of one area and into another:
- Flooding – Climate change can cause flooding either by raising sea levels or increasing rains (e.g. hurricanes)
- Drought – Climate change causes areas that once received rain to dry up. Rainforest collapse is the most dramatic example, but simple rainfall pattern change is another.
- Heat – As the planet warms, equatorial regions will eventually become so hot that humans can no longer tolerate or work in the heat.
All three of these effects will cause climate migration, by millions and millions of people. The people who are migrating will have no choice, because the alternative is death.
Take a country like Bangladesh. Much of Bangladesh is highly susceptible to sea level rise, and much of Bangladesh is hot and humid, so rising temperatures will eventually make it virtually uninhabitable. 160 million people live in Bangladesh, and most are in poverty already. Given this, the headline is probably understating things:
The growing impacts of climate change have already pushed more than 18 million people to migrate within South Asian countries, but that could more than triple in three decades if global warming continues on its current path, researchers warned on Friday. Nearly 63 million people could be forced from their homes by 2050 in the region as rising seas and rivers swallow villages, and drought-hit land no longer supports crops, said ActionAid International and Climate Action Network South Asia in a report. The projection does not include those who will be forced to flee sudden disasters such as floods and cyclones and so is likely an under-estimate, noted Harjeet Singh, global climate lead at ActionAid. He said the situation could become “catastrophic”.
The obvious solution is to try to limit the damage that climate change causes by:
- Stopping the combustion of all fossil fuels
- Pulling carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere
Unfortunately, there are many economic forces and powers that want to move in the opposite direction:
ExxonMobil’s Monday announcement of new targets for addressing greenhouse gas emissions was met with derision by climate advocates who called the plan “too little, too late.”
There is something Exxon could do to help migitgate the problems it has created. Exxon could develop and sell a carbon neutral gasoline substitute. In this way, all of the existing pipelines and gas stations and vehicles could still operate, while not adding any more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Using solar, wind or nuclear power, there is definitely a pathway toward achieving this. For example, the U.S. Navy has demonstrated how to make jet fuel out of seawater.
There are several other approaches that can make synthetic gasoline as well. Exxon (and other oil companies need to scale them up and sell synthetic gasoline instead of fossil fuel gasoline.
Then humanity needs to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at a massive scale:
“The Doomsday Book” by Marshall Brain lays out this scenario in amazing detail and offers solutions to prevent this doomsday scenario from unfolding. You can order the book today on Amazon and other retailers.