Are Climate Refugees the Next Global Crisis?

Are Climate Refugees the Next Global Crisis?

Climate change might cause the next wave of human mass migration

May 3, 2018, Spencer Phade

Going home at the end of the day is something most of us take for granted. However, that is a luxury that not all people have.

We are no stranger to refugees on this planet. For as long as humans have been around, there have been people who have been pushed from their homes or countries for political, social, or economic reasons.

However, there is a chance that we might have to brace for the largest migration of refugees the earth has ever seen.

So, who are these possible refugees?


Are Climate Refugees the Next Global Crisis?

Climate refugees, sometimes called environmental migrants, are those who are forced to to move from his or her home temporarily or permanently due to sudden or long-term changes in the living environment.

From 2009 to 2015, the UN states that. an estimate one person ever second was displaced by a disaster, with an estimated total of 22.5 million people displaced for climate or weather related events. For example, already in Mexico, around 700,000 people are year are displaced form the countries drylands due to desertification.

It is possible that many currently inhabited areas may become uninhabitable in the futures due to climate change.  This could lead to a massive wave of climate refugees, forcing countries to rethink their generally complex immigration and refugee policies.  The UN estimates the number of potential climate change refugees to be up to 200 million by the year 2050.

As seen with increased flooding and wild fires in the United States, displacement as a result of natural disasters affects all nations. However, it is expected that people in poor and developing nations will be most severely affected.

This number has seen estimates of up to 1 billion people by 2050 and 2 billion by 2100 as a result of rising sea levels. Ultimately exact numbers are hard to predict as there are so many constantly changing variables and the scale is so large.

But the point remains, a general consensus is starting to form globally that there might be a large number of people who are displaced from their homes or countries due to climate change. And it raises very difficult questions, such as, “Where will they go once displaced?” “Who will accept them?” And, “What’s next?”

The topic of refugees is of heated debate and no clear right answer. And as of today the global community has not come to a consensus in terms of the legal acknowledgement of climate refugees. Currently, environmental migrants are not protected under international refugee law. This means that they would not be afforded a lot of the necessary benefits required to escape and survive their situation.

Migration and refugees is a complex topic, and it is a problem most stand divided on internally as well as in the global discussion. It a topic that can easily be ignored until it is knocking on your front door.

Though there are already millions of climate refugees, if the actual number of environmental migrants reaches even a fraction of what is projected in the coming decades, it may soon something that affects us all.


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