AUSTIN (KXAN) — For many, climate change seems like an abstract thing we don’t need to worry about, or perhaps something that won’t impact us for decades. That simply is just not the case. In many parts of the world, it is already forcing people to move.

More extreme changes in temperatures, increased rainfall, longer periods of drought, enhanced wildfires and disasters such as tropical storms are expected with climate change. These are all causing human migration, but not everyone has the flexibility or financial means to move.

“The middle class will be the ones forced to pack up … in both low and high-income countries environmental impacts are weaker … presumably because either people are too poor to leave and become basically trapped, or, in wealthy countries, have enough financial means to absorb the consequences,” said climate change migration researcher Roman Hoffmann. “It is mainly in regions with middle incomes and a dependency on agriculture that we see strong effects.”

Given the expected rise of the global average temperature, researchers believe that the topic of environmental migration will become more important in the future.

“The best way to protect those affected is to stabilize the global climate, namely reduce greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels,” said Jesus Crespo Cuaresma from the Vienna University of Economics & Business.