segunda-feira, 7 de setembro de 2015

The European Migrant Crisis Is A Nightmare. The Climate Crisis Will Make It Worse.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants are seeking refuge in Europe, but millions more will be displaced as the climate warms.
By Peter Mellgard - Associate Editor, The WorldPost

The hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in Europe or dying on the way to its shores could be a harbinger of things to come, researchers and policymakers warn, because a potentially greater driver of displacement looms on the horizon: climate change.
As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned at a recent State Department-led conference on climate change in the Arctic, the scenes of chaos and heartbreak in Europe will be repeated globally unless the world acts to mitigate climate change.
"Wait until you see what happens when there's an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival," Kerry said.
World leaders have long warned that natural disasters and degraded environments linked to climate change could -- indeed, have already started to -- drive people from their homes. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres declared in 2009 that climate change will create millions of refugees and internally displaced populations. "Not only states, but cultures and identities will be drowned," Guterres said.
Displacement is already happening in some parts of the world. Almost 28 million people on average were displaced by environmental disasters every year between 2008 and 2013, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center -- roughly three times as many as were forced from their homes by conflict and violence.
It's difficult to predict exactly how many more may be displaced as climate change progresses. "When global warming takes hold there could be as many as 200 million people overtaken" by the consequences, professor Norman Myers of Oxford University argued in a 2005 paper. For comparison’s sake, 350,000 migrants sought entry into the  European Union in 2014, the International Organization for Migration estimated.
Few countries or international organizations are prepared to deal with environmentally displaced people. As a 2011 report from the European Parliament's Directorate-General for Internal Policies detailed, there is no specific legal protection for "environmentally displaced individuals" beyond temporary measures that would prove insufficient if the environmental damage to their homeland endured. 
The UN has a non-binding agreement on internal displacement from 1998 that includes provisions for people fleeing natural disasters, but it is not obligatory and includes no penalties for countries that ignore it, as Roger Zetter, a professor emeritus in refugee studies at Oxford, told The Huffington Post. The portions addressing natural disasters focus on storms, not the more complex and slow-onset effects of climate change.
Myers’ sensational prediction of hundreds of millions of climate change refugees has come under fire in the years since its 2005 publication. "It’s a very contentious overestimate," Zetter said. "It’s a back-of-the-envelope figure." 

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