Scientists believe climate could greatly increase asylum numbers in Europe

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Europe could increase numbers of “climate refugees” as global warming contributes to poverty and harsh living conditions elsewhere in the world.

 

In a new report published in the journal Science on Thursday, researchers discuss the relationship between climate change and refugees.

‘We find a significant statistical correlation between fluctuations in asylum applications and abnormal weather’, wrote Wolfram Schlenker and Anouch Missirian, two researchers at Columbia University in the United States.

They examined asylum applications in the EU from 2000 to 2014. Asylum seekers from a total of 103 countries applied for asylum before the major refugee inflow from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016.

First of its kind

They conclude that the more the temperature in the country of origin of asylum seekers rises above 20 degrees (the optimal temperature for growing food), the more asylum applications. High temperatures had a greater tendency to increase asylum applications than low temperatures.

‘This is the first study that draws a connecting line between temperature and international migration at a global level,’ said Jacob Schewe, researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany.

He wasn’t involved in the study himself.

Tripled applications

According to the report, the number of asylum applications to the EU could increase by over a quarter by 2100, even though global warming is slowing down.

If emissions of greenhouse gases continue at today’s level, the number of asylum applications will almost triple to more than one million per year towards the end of the century, maintainsthe report. The report doesn’t speculate about the effect of decreasing available jobs due to mechanisation and digitalisation.

 

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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