Global warming can be defined as the rise in average surface temperatures on Earth. Experts say that global warming is primarily due to the human use of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. The gases trap heat within the atmosphere. This has a range of effects on ecosystems, including rising sea levels, severe weather events, climate change and droughts that render landscapes more susceptible to wildfires. The average temperature on the Earth has gone up by 1.4° F over the past century and is expected to rise as much as 11.5° F over the next.
As polar ice caps melt, the sea level is rising at an alarming rate. In the western Pacific, it is rising at 12 millimetres per year and has already submerged eight islands. Besides, in South Asia, increasing temperatures, sea-level rise, more frequent cyclones, flooding of river systems fed by melting glaciers, and other extreme weather events are forcing people to migrate. While these masses migrate, they put extra stress on the land they move to. In this age of urbanisation, there is an increasing demand for energy. This migration not only leads to the exhaustion of a region’s limited natural resources but also eventual climate change. Hence migration patterns resulting from climate change often leads to conflicts. Such is the impact that the World Bank has predicted that the collective South Asian economy (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) will lose 1.8 per cent of its annual GDP due to climate change by 2050.
Sarah Tishler, a senior student at the Northeastern University, has stated that if someone’s livelihood is lost in such a situation, it is unlikely that they will have the resources to migrate very far at all. Experts fear this may be the case for several islands in the pacific.