Climate Change Could Displace One Billion People

| Wed May 16, 2007 9:35 PM EDT

The world currently has about 153 million displaced people. But there will be one billion by 2050, due to global warming. That's the prediction of Christian Aid, an organization formed 60 years ago to help the tens of millions of people displaced by World War II.

Internally displaced people are much worse off than international refugees, who have legal status and protection. So in Uganda, for example, the DP camps are more like rural prisons. The worst displacement crisis triggered by climate change already is Darfur. The one-billion figure is based on the IPCC's figures, for example, that droughts will halve the agricultural yields of many countries.

Another shocking part of the report, Human Tide, is the damage done by cultivation of palm oil for biodiesel. Biofuels are a modern-day goldrush. The EU will require one tenth of fuel to be biofuels by 2020. But in Indonesia alone, 350 conflicts have come out of developers wresting land away from people to cultivate palm oil. Dozens of people have been murdered and about 500 tortured. When pushed off their land, these people have no choice but to work on the plantations.

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