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Assessing the impacts of climate change on flood displacement risk

A number of attempts have been made to estimate the future scale of climate-related migration, but relatively few peer-reviewed studies examine the risk as it applies to displacement.

With so many people already affected and extreme weather events predicted to become more frequent and/or severe in many parts of the world, it is imperative to establish the magnitude of future displacement risk, its drivers and what might be done about it. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s sixth assessment report (AR6) may attempt to answer at least some of these questions, but it is unclear upon what evidence its findings will be based.

This paper presents a first attempt to fill this information gap by estimating future flood displacement risk. It focuses on floods because they are responsible for most of the observed disaster displacement and estimated risk. By comparing future points in time with the present and across various climate change and development scenarios, it reveals the magnitude of risk, how it differs from the present, and what is driving the changes.


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