A recent article in The Economist, "A New (Under) Class of Travellers" shines a light on one of the most dire consequences of global climate change -- the rise in the number of "environmental refugees." Tens of millions of desperate people are already fleeing their homelands in Africa as they become uninhabitable from chronic drought. Climate scientists expect these numbers to grow as sea levels rise, displacing the vast populations that live along fragile river deltas in Asia. And, of course, population growth will only worsen the situation.
While we should do everything we can as a global community to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we won't be able to reverse the climactic trends that will continue to displace the most vulnerable populations from their homes in the near term. As once-fertile lands dry up or flood, the carrying capacity of the planet may very well shrink, making an expected population of 9-10 million by 2050 completely unsustainable. Reducing fertility rates could, over time, relieve the pressures of global migration and boost the capabilities of all nations to meet the basic needs of their people.