Copenhagen: Climate Refugees Pose Growing Concern

Ahead of the UN Copenhagen summit on climate change, Bangladeshi Finance Minister Abdul Muhith raised the issue of climate refugees and calling on developed countries to help, given that some 60% of Bangladeshis are at risk due to rising sea-levels.

This is the first time that a senior official of any developing country has raised the matter on a global stage.

“We are asking our development partners to honour the natural right of persons to migrate. We can’t accommodate all these people,” The Guardian quoted Abdul Muhith, as saying.

He also urged the United Nations to afford climate refugees the same protection as people fleeing political repression and seeking asylum.

What is the conservative solution to climate change refugees? Deny, make some ignorant comments, and then launch some ill-informed ad-hominem attacks. Foregone conclusion: Let them all die.

An International Organization of Migration report has estimated that climate change will create around 200 million refugees by the year 2050, while another report by the Global Humanitarian Forum states that 300,000 people already die annually due to climate change related causes. Given climate change is largely the result of North-Atlantic and Australian consumption, are these countries ready to take responsibility for the large migration of peoples that will ensue in this century?

Richer and more developed countries could help avert the looming crisis by providing funds for relocation or accepting refugees. Since restricting human migration is the mantra nowadays, relocation help seems like the way that developed countries would go.

Island countries such as the Maldives, Tuvalu and coastal areas are most threatened. However, mass migration due to climate change won’t be limited of people from South to North. With Alaskan villages melting away, Americans are likely to be one of the first refugees of climate change, so conservative skepticism is not really an option for too long.

Climate change is not a matter of faith where action should await public approval. There exists a broad consensus in the scientific community, including 2000 scientists on the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, that the issue poses a grave risk for humanity. The only scientists who disagree have their ‘research’ funded by Big-Oil. Go figure.

In the meantime, 200 million people will be looking for new homes soon, Americans included.

(Photo Credit:ItzaFineDay’s photostream)

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