A new report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that climate change disasters are a major cause for the rise in global displacement, along with factors like conflicts and rising food prices.
According to ENN (Environmental News Network), global displacement has risen from 9.9 million refugees last year to 11.4 million refugees worldwide this year.
The global impact of the environment on human livelihoods is creating a new kind of casualty -the environmental refugee.
Climate change disasters are currently a bigger cause of population displacement than war and persecution, according to the International Federation of Red Cross.
The report determined that rising sea levels, increasing desertification, weather-induced flooding, and more frequent natural disasters have, and will increasingly become a major cause of population displacement in several parts of the world.
According to a report published by the United Nations University, there are now about 19.2 million people officially recognized as "persons of concern", that is, people likely to be displaced because of environmental disasters.
This figure is predicted to grow to about 50 million by the end of the year 2010.
These forecasts are not inevitable and will hinge on whether the international community can pull together and deliver a decisive and meaningful agreement on climate change at the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, alongside more intelligent management of the planet's nature-based assets.