‘Climate Refugees’

June 10, 2009

Still more bad news from the war on weather.
Changes in climate the next few years will create a disaster scenario beyond even the old chesnut of “biblical proportions” as all kinds of bad shit will force the mass movement of many peoples.
From Agence France-Presse today (via Raw Story):

Tens of millions of people will be displaced by climate change in coming years, posing social, political and security problems of an unprecedented dimension, a new study said on Wednesday.
Estimates of the likely numbers range from 25 to 50 million people by 2010, while the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has pitched a figure of 200 million by 2050.

“Unless aggressive measures are taken to halt global warming, the consequences for human migration and displacement could reach a scope and scale that vastly exceed anything that has occurred before,” its authors warned.
“Climate change is already contributing to migration and displacement.
“All major estimates project that the trend will rise to tens of millions of migrants in coming years. Within the next few decades, the consequences of climate change for human security efforts could be devastating.”
The report, “In Search of Shelter,” was compiled by specialists from Columbia University in New York and the United Nations University, and from a non-governmental organisation, CARE International.

In 2007, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) predicted sea levels will rise by up to 59 centimeters (23 inches) before 2100 due the expansion of warmer waters.
But this figure does not factor in a partial melting of massive ice sheets in western Antarctica and Greenland, a scenario now identified by more recent research.
The new report urged policymakers to develop tools to identify regions and populations at risk of being displaced by climate change.

The report admits that the definition of a climate migrant is complex, as poverty, a run of bad harvests or civil strife are usually the immediate, and thus most visible, triggers for displacement.
The term “climate refugee” is shunned by UN organisations, as “refugee” is a term with legal connotations under the 1851 Geneva Convention.

And why can’t humans get their shit together and do something?
In the US, this is one reason.

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