Accelerating Climate Change to Force Mass U.S. Migration

“As the planet slowly cooks, people will do what they have done for thousands of years in response to climate change in their environment,” writes journalist and author Abrahm Lustgarten, “they will move.” Less than one percent of the earth’s surface is now considered too hot or dry to support human civilization, but climate researchers estimate that by 2070 nearly one-fifth of the planet will be unlivable. The impact will be most acute in parts of Asia, Africa and Central America. But climate models also predict that tens of millions of Americans will become climate migrants during this century– moving to more temperate zones in response to wildfires, flooding, extreme heat and drought. We talk to Lustgarten about what a climate change-induced mass migration could look like in the U.S. and why Californians will be among the most likely to move.

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