9 Oct 2006

Report warns of mass exodus of Pacific environmental refugees

7:56 pm on 9 October 2006

A new report released today by Australia's national science agency warns about a mass exodus of Pacific Islanders due to the impacts of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

The report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, aimed to provide the scientific context for future impacts of climate change in the Asia/Pacific region.

The lead author of the report, Ben Preston, says that the report drew upon a number of recent studies that tried to estimate where people are likely to be displaced by climate change.

He says that while it's difficult to exactly predict the future movement of environmental refugees, future sea level rise is a given.

"Inevitably some areas in the Asia/Pacific region are probably going to become submerged and uninhabitable and ultimately that is likely to drive individuals or communities to relocate to other areas. Now... how many people relocate and where they go and when that relocation might occur is extremely difficult to predict at this moment in time."