This story was originally published by ProPublica and is republished with permission. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.
Climate change is remapping where humans can exist on the planet. As optimum conditions shift away from the equator and toward the poles, more than 600 million people have already been stranded outside of a crucial environmental niche that scientists say best supports life. By late this century, according to a study published last month in the journal Nature Sustainability, 3 to 6 billion people, or between a third and a half of humanity, could be trapped outside of that zone, facing extreme heat, food scarcity and higher death rates, unless emissions are sharply curtailed or mass migration is accommodated.
The research, which adds novel detail about who will be most affected and where, suggests that climate-driven migration could easily eclipse even the largest estimates as enormous segments of the earth’s population seek safe havens. It also makes a moral case for immediate and aggressive ... Read more