Climate change 'to force millions to migrate'

Millions of people along the coast of North Africa may be forced to migrate as climate change makes their livelihoods untenable, warns an Egyptian report. “There are signs that changes will be significant and possibly severe,” says Mohamed El-Raey, professor of environmental physics at the University of Alexandria. Researchers estimate that if no action is taken to reduce climate change, seawater will rise by 50cm by 2050 and displace nearly 1,5-million people in the ancient city of Alexandria alone.

Egypt’s coastal zone, home to more than 40% of the population, will be hit hardest, says the report.
As the sea-level rises, flooding and salt-water intrusion are expected to lead people to abandon land and homes, which could trigger social unrest.

“Egypt should prepare for climate change by developing crops that can tolerate environmental stresses such as drought and salty soil,” says Wahead Mahmoud Emam, a professor of environmental sciences at Ain Shams University, Cairo. Eman says, although Egypt contributes only a fraction of 1% to global emissions of carbon dioxide, it is important to reduce emissions and raise public awareness about the threat of climate change. He adds that Egypt will launch a satellite later this year to monitor impacts of climate change on the environment

The report also predicts that rising temperatures and water shortages will put pressure on agriculture and reduce crop yields. It predicts that farmers will then move to marginal lands—whose soils are already poor—and in farming them, accelerate their degradation.—Scidev.net

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