News, Culture & Society

Climate change is triggering mass migrations that could phase out really dark and pale skin tones

Global warming could spell the end of racial differences because climate change will trigger massive migrations, a prominent scientist has claimed.

In just 125 years, there may be far fewer people with really dark skin or pale skin tones, according to Scott Solomon a biologist at Rice University in Houston.

More and more people will have olive and brown-coloured complexions, according to Dr Solomon who wrote an in-depth feature for MACH.

As people become more physically similar to one another, racism is increasingly likely to become a thing of the past, he claims.

Global warming will spell the end of racial differences because climate change will trigger massive migrations, a scientist has said (stock image) 

According to the 2017 International Migration Report by the UN, there are now 258 million people living in a country other than the one they were born in.

This is an increase of 49 per cent since 2000.

By 2050, 143 million ‘climate migrants’ will face an ‘existential threat’ and be displaced, the World Bank said in a report published earlier this year.

That includes 86 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 40 million in South Asia and 17 million in Latin America.

‘These migrations will erode the geographic barriers that once separated human populations’, said Dr Solomon.

The wave of refugees fleeing crop failures, droughts and rising sea levels is set to fruther grow drastically over the next three decades.

‘One consequence of large-scale migrations is what biologists call gene flow, a type of evolution caused by the blending of genes between populations,’ said Dr Solomon.

Over thousands of years, our ancestors developed different skin colours that generally resembled the intensity of sun in different regions.

However, due to sunscreen and other vitamins, natural selection is less important in dictating the colour of people’s skin.

The World Bank said the warming climate is likely to result in a spike in refugee populations, displacing millions like these woman who were displaced by Ethiopia's drought in June 2017

The World Bank said the warming climate is likely to result in a spike in refugee populations, displacing millions like these woman who were displaced by Ethiopia’s drought in June 2017

‘Because skin colour is controlled by many genes, parents whose skin colour differs tend to have children with intermediate skin tones,’ said Dr Solomon, who is author of ‘Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution.’

‘And so in five to 10 generations (125 to 250 years), we may see fewer people with dark skin or pale skin and more with a brown or olive complexion.

‘Having both dark skin and light eyes may become more common.’

In the US for example, the number of multiracial births has already risen from one per cent in 1970 to ten per cent in 2013.

This is expected to increase in the future, with multiracial populations projected to grow by 174 per cent over the next 40 years.

‘As people around the world become more physically similar to one another, it’s possible that racism might slowly fade,’ he said.


In 2013, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) published a report which looked at the frequency of extreme weather events. 

Since then, there has been a continued rise in how common these events occur. 

In order to cope when such adverse weather conditions strike, they made recommendations as to how the EU can better protect its citizens from climate change. 

1. Information

The report claimed that in order to best deal with the issues, it is necessary to understand them first. 

To understand how global warming will affect the extremes of weather, it is necessary to study and model them. 

2. Heat waves

Across the European continent, heatwaves can vary massively and have vastly different impacts. 

Understanding the nuances of these phenomena is key to weathering the storm. 

3. Flood defence and early warning

Good practice in flood preparedness and for flood defence across Europe should be shared, including information about different responses to flood preparedness and flood warnings.

4. Agriculture

The report stated that the agriculture sector as a whole needed to improve.

Vulnerability to extreme weather and possible measures to increase resilience should be produced.

5. Strengthen the knowledge of climate change 

The research found that it was crucial that we viewed climate change adaptation as a continuous process. 

In order to do this sustained observations, analysis and climate modelling about the Earth are integral parts of a robust and flexible climate-change adaptation strategy.

It claims knowledge dissemination, innovation and building international relationships is key.

6. Changes in policies 

Before adaptation can be achieved, there are several barriers which include  those that are physical, technical, psychological, financial, institutional and knowledge-based. 



Comments are closed.