“The lower latitudes are going to experience increasing temperatures and lower precipitation, historically associated with the Sahara Desert,” said Barnett. This, in turn, will lead to unprecedented north-south immigration as hundreds of millions are displaced.
He was speaking at a session titled ‘India’s New Map: Achieving Global Leadership in an Era of Climate Change and Demographic Transition’ at the summit. Roughly 1/10th of the world’s landmass is going to disappear in terms of liveability and most of it is going to be ironically in the South,” he added.
The migration of climate refugees will put an enormous strain on international relations. “The north tends to view this largely in terms of cost,” and without proper management, “failed states could emerge” and this could exacerbate tensions and conflicts, warned Barnett.
Competition will also grow for influence over the billions who will be entering the ‘global middle class’, most of whom will be in “middle Earth”-the band between 30 degrees north and south of the Equator-that coincides with the area that will be affected by climate change.
Barnett believes that the global middle class will be the subject of a “superpower brand competition”, wherein it will be courted by the emerging and established world powers. He said, “in times of uncertainty, superpowers will seek to deepen economic and political ties with the rising consumers.”
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